Saudi Arabia suspends new trade with Canada, recalls ambassador

Arturo Kim
August 6, 2018

The Kingdom will also freeze "all new business" with Canada.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced on Sunday that it is recalling its ambassador in Canada for consultation and simultaneously declared the Ambassador of Canada persona non-grata, giving him 24 hours to leave. They called on Saudi authorities to "immediately release" the detainees.

Freeland said in a tweet August 2 that she was "very alarmed to learn that Samar Badawi, Raif Badawi's sister, has been imprisoned in Saudi Arabia", and that "Canada stands together with the Badawi family in this hard time, and we continue to strongly call for the release of both Raif and Samar Badawi".

The Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs also condemned Canada's calls for the release of detained activists as "blatant interference in the Kingdom's domestic affairs".

"We urge the Saudi authorities to immediately release them and all other peaceful #human rights activists", the embassy tweeted on Friday.

The arrests followed a spate of detentions of women's rights activists in the run-up to the end of the ban on women driving in the kingdom in late June.

So far this year, Canada has exported C$1.4 billion ($1.1 billion) in merchandise goods to Saudi Arabia and imported C$2 billion in imports, leaving it with a cumulative year-to-date trade deficit with the kingdom of about C$640 million, according to Statistics Canada data.

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"The Canadian position is an attack on Saudi Arabia that requires a firm stance towards it". His wife, Ensaf Haidar, is now living in Canada.

"Any other attempt to interfere with our internal affairs from Canada, means that we are allowed to interfere in Canada's internal affairs", it said.

Al-Saadah was among the first women to run for office in Saudi Arabia in 2015 as part of a campaign for women's political rights.

"Any further step from the Canadian side in that direction will be considered as acknowledgment of our right to interfere in the Canadian Domestic affairs", the statement reads.

On Thursday, Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said she was "very alarmed" by the news of Samar Badawi's arrest, the sister of imprisoned blogger Raif Badawi.

"Canada stands together with the Badawi family in this hard time, and we continue to strongly call for the release of both Raif and Samar Badawi", she wrote on Twitter.

"We are seriously concerned by these media reports and are seeking greater clarity on the recent statement from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia", said Marie-Pier Baril.

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