Foreign scholarships and flights become the latest in Saudi retaliation against Canada

14 Août, 2018, 01:26 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Foreign scholarships and flights become the latest in Saudi retaliation against Canada

Her tweet addressed the case of siblings-Samar Badawi, a women's-rights activist honored by the Obama Administration as a "woman of courage", and her brother, Raif, a blogger who has been imprisoned since 2012, after chastising the Saudi monarchy for things like banning Valentine's Day.

Saudi Arabia has since taken steps to cancel the scholarships of almost 15,000 Saudi students studying at Canadian colleges and universities, stop the Saudi state airline's direct flights to and from Canada, block new trade deals with Canadian businesses and ban the import of Canadian wheat.

The Saudi reaction shows, on the one hand, the sensitivity of the Kingdom to criticism for its human rights record. The war of words between the two countries stems back to a series of tweets from Canada's Foreign Ministry last week, when Ottawa expressed concern over some arrests in Saudi Arabia. Saudi response is justified in that some countries are in the habit of interfering in internal affairs of other countries on the pretext of human rights.

The Saudi reaction is also evidence of Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman's harsher worldwide diplomacy compared to the previous, "softer" diplomacy, analysts say.

Summit in Brussels

Germany and Sweden had previously been entangled in disputes with Riyadh. The United States could easily replace Saudi crude thanks to its growing production, Dwarkin said.

Freeland had a phone call Tuesday with Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, and officials have been in touch since, said Freeland's spokesman.

"We continue to engage diplomatically, but as I've said, Canada will always be very clear on standing up for human rights", Trudeau said Monday when asked about the diplomatic dispute.

The economic impact of the Saudi retaliation on Canada is unlikely to be large, but the fact that Saudi Arabia is whipping the oil wealth stick to punish economically what it sees as "blatant" interference with its affairs is sending a message to other countries, and a not-so-positive message to foreign investors.

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