'Blatant interference': Saudi Arabia freezing new trade, expelling Canadian ambassador

Saudi Arabia says it is expelling Canada's ambassador and suspending new trade over Canada's insistence the Kingdom release jailed human rights activists.

Saudi Arabia’s foreign ministry announced the sudden move in a series of tweets on Sunday night. In those tweets, the ministry accused Canada of “overt and blatant interference” in the country’s internal affairs.

“The Canadian position is a grave and unacceptable violation of the Kingdom's laws and procedures. In addition to violate the Kingdom's judiciary and a breach of the principle of sovereignty,” the Saudi foreign ministry tweeted.

“The KSA considers the Canadian position an attack on the KSA and requires a firm stance to deter who attempts to undermine the sovereignty of the KSA.”

The ministry says it is freezing all new trade and investments between the two countries.

Saudi Arabia has also recalled its ambassador to Ottawa and has given Canadian diplomat Denis Horak 24 hours to leave the country.

“We consider the Canadian ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia persona non grata and order him to leave within the next 24 hours,” the Saudi ministry tweeted.

In a tweet on Friday, Global Affairs Canada stated it was “gravely concerned about additional arrests of civil society and women’s rights activists.”

The tweet also called on the Saudi government “to immediately release them and all other peaceful human rights activists.”