Published: Thu, August 09, 2018
Worldwide | By Sean Reid

Saudi-Canada conflict: Riyadh sells assets, orders patients out

Saudi-Canada conflict: Riyadh sells assets, orders patients out

Saudi Arabia is considering other measures to take against Canada, Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said on Wednesday, amid a crisis between the two countries over the fate of a women's rights activist.

Canada says it does not know what will happen to a $13 billion defence contract to sell Canadian-made General Dynamics Corp armoured vehicles to Saudi Arabia.

Russian Federation voiced support for Saudi Arabia in its worsening row with Canada, telling Ottawa it was unacceptable to lecture the kingdom on human rights.

Earlier this week, the Saudi central bank and state pension funds instructed third-party asset managers to divest assets in Canadian bonds, stocks and cash. Riyadh added it's working to transfer existing Saudi patients out of the country.

Additionally, on Monday it was announced that "training, scholarships and fellowships" for Saudi students in Canada are now being shelved.

Almost 100 worldwide students in Waterloo Region could be affected as tensions heat up between Saudi Arabia and Canada.

Diplomatically, Saudi Arabia's Foreign Ministry responded to Canada's call to free the women's rights activists as "blatant interference in the kingdom's domestic affairs".

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Still, Rai said the impact on the currency should be "ephemeral" as bilateral trade between Saudi Arabia and Canada is small. Riyadh accused Ottawa on Tuesday of interfering in its internal affairs.

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.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman has expelled the Canadian ambassador, suspended flights to the country and terminated student exchange programs.

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during a news conference following a cabinet shuffle at Rideau Hall in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, July 18, 2018.

The 14-year arms deal, which directly employs 2,000 people, was described at the time by the previous federal Conservative government as the largest advanced manufacturing export contract in Canadian history.

Meanwhile, the United States - one of Canada's closest allies - has so far refused to wade into the row.

Last year, Canadian exports to Saudi Arabia were nearly $1.5 billion, while imports from the Middle Eastern country were about $2.6 billion.

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