Saudi Arabia suspending 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 civil rights activists.

Saudi Arabia’s foreign ministry announced the sudden move on Sunday night. The ministry accused Canada of “overt and blatant interference” in the country’s internal affairs.

“KSA through its history has not and will not accept any form of interfering in the internal affairs of the Kingdom,” a statement from the Saudi foreign ministry said on Twitter. “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.”

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

In a tweet on Friday, Global Affairs Canada stated it was “gravely concerned about additional arrests of civil society and women’s rights activists.” This includes the detention of blogger Raif Badawi, whose wife and children live in Quebec.

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

#Statement | Any other attempt to interfere with our internal affairs from #Canada, means that we are allowed to interfere in #Canada's internal affairs.

— Foreign Ministry ���� (@KSAmofaEN) August 5, 2018

#Statement | The KSA announces the summoning of the ambassador of the Kingdom of #SaudiArabia to #Canada.

— Foreign Ministry ���� (@KSAmofaEN) August 5, 2018

Canada is gravely concerned about additional arrests of civil society and women’s rights activists in #SaudiArabia, including Samar Badawi. We urge the Saudi authorities to immediately release them and all other peaceful #humanrights activists.

— Foreign Policy CAN (@CanadaFP) August 3, 2018