Saturday, 22 September, 2018


Saudi Arabia-Canada spat hits 16,000 students as the Kingdom suspends scholarships

101317-university of kings college-halifax-1-MG University of King's College
Bennie Garza | 08 August, 2018, 21:29

Amnesty International has often been vocal about being against Saudi Arabia's executions.

The kingdom has taken several measures to punish Ottawa.

So far this year, Canada has exported $1.4 billion in merchandise goods to Saudi Arabia and imported $2 billion, according to Statistics Canada data.

Some analysts perceive the move as both a power play for the kingdom's young leader and a demonstration put on for the benefit of countries with stronger ties to Saudi Arabia than Canada. Annual Saudi-Canadian trade hovers around $4bn.

On Wednesday, Elias Abulkalaam Jamaleddeen entered a Myanmar woman's home with a gun before stabbing her.

Saudi Arabia, ruled by its interpretation of Islamic law, rarely carries out crucifixions, but capital punishment remains common.

A Canadian departmental spokesperson said Global Affairs Canada continues to seek clarity from the Saudi Arabian government on various issues.

The absolute monarchy ruling Saudi Arabia tightly controls the media broadcast within its borders and its foreign policy messaging.

The kingdom has suspended educational exchanges with Canada and moved Saudi scholars to other countries.

The ministry went on to threaten vague retaliation against Ottawa. Saudia Airlines has also announced it will suspend flights to and from Canada starting August 13.

But Canada has remained firm.

"We have always said that the politicisation of human rights matters is unacceptable", Maria Zakharova, a spokesperson for Russia's foreign ministry, told reporters on Wednesday.

Saudi Arabia has declared a freeze on new trade with Canada and recalled thousands of students attending Canadian universities following the tweet last week from Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland.

But the United Kingdom and USA, two countries that maintain close ties with both Ottawa and Riyadh, have remained relatively silent.

Bin Salman is the second most senior member of the Saudi regime, which has one of the worst human rights records in the world.

The UK also expressed "strong" support for human rights, and said it "regularly" raises concerns with the kingdom, but did not mention the specific case of the Badawis.

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