Saudi Arabia to suspend Toronto flights as spat with Canada continues

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Canada's relationship with Saudi Arabia has been cordial in the past, which has sometimes stoked controversy at home.

McTeague said the risk of Saudi Arabia causing gas prices to rise is minimal - even locally in New Brunswick - given the "very robust market" globally for crude and Irving Oil's allocation to the US northeast.

The latest arrests come weeks after more than a dozen women's rights campaigners were detained and accused of undermining national security and collaborating with enemies of the state.

Canada's previous Conservative government, which lost power to the Liberals in 2015, also had challenges with Riyadh over human rights.

A state-run news organization is reporting the kingdom is cutting off scholarship and fellowship programs to about 15,000 students now taking classes in Canada.

Image copyright AFP Image caption Chrystia Freeland called for the release of Samar Badawi and her brother Raif Why were the women's rights activists arrested in the first place? "But we would encourage both governments to work out their issues together".

"Both Canada and the United States lost the Middle East market a long time ago. because they are at a freight disadvantage (with higher ocean shipping costs) to the European Union and Black Sea export markets", the consultant said.

Nauert's response was seen in Canadian media as a failure to back Canada, with the Toronto newspaper reporting that "US refuses to back Canada in Saudi Arabia dispute".

Universities across Canada are scrambling to get information after Saudi Arabia suspended scholarships to Canada and planned to relocate its students already in the country.

Harbash added that they are capable of transferring all Saudi students from Canada to countries with cultural missions in the US, UK, New Zealand and Australia, all of which are considered countries with top education institutions, and have good relations with Saudi Arabia.

Saudi state airline Saudia said it was suspending flights to and from Toronto, Canada's largest city.

The Saudis have also threatened to exclude Canadian companies from participation in the lucrative Vision 2030 programme, where the kingdom is spending hundreds of billions of dollars to modernise its economy.

Saudi Arabia has frozen all trade, expelled Canada's ambassador and ordered its citizens studying in Canada to leave.

Anwar Gargash, United Arab Emirates minister of state for foreign affairs, tweeted in Arabic that the UAE stands with Saudi Arabia in defending its sovereignty and its laws.

"The only class of wheat that Canada still exports to the region is durum but even that is not that much". General Dynamics Land Systems in London Ontario, signed a $11.4 billion (CAD$15-billion) deal four years ago with the Saudis to provide that country with light-armoured vehicles.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas also said on Monday that he rejects Canadian interference in "internal Saudi affairs". The British government on Tuesday urged the two nations to show restraint.

The sudden and unexpected dispute bore the hallmarks of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia's 32-year-old future leader, whose recent foreign policy exploits include the war in Yemen, the boycott of Qatar and Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri's surprise resignation broadcast during a visit to the kingdom.

"We are always going to speak up for human rights; we're always going to speak up for women's rights; and that is not going to change", she told reporters in Vancouver on Monday.

The political activist Samar Badawi was presented with an International Women of Courage Award by Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama in 2012.