US urges Canada and Saudi Arabia to resolve feud

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US urges Canada and Saudi Arabia to resolve feud

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

In a tweet on Friday, the Canadian Foreign Ministry said it was "gravely concerned" by the arrest of Saudi activist Samar Badawi and other women's rights campaigners, and called for their release.

New trade has been frozen between the two countries, casting a shadow of uncertainty over the 2014 deal that sends light armoured vehicles to Saudi security forces. The kingdom has since escalated its moves against Canada, suspending flights to Toronto and ordering the return of thousands of students who are studying at Canadian schools.

Saudi Arabia's main state wheat buying agency has told grains exporters it will no longer buy Canadian wheat and barley.

So far this year, Canada has exported $1.4 billion in merchandise goods to Saudi Arabia and imported $2 billion, according to Statistics Canada data.

In addition to the trade freeze, Riyadh has stopped sending patients to Canadian hospitals and "is coordinating for the transfer of all Saudi patients from Canadian hospitals".

The Saudi Foreign Ministry called Canada's criticism of the arrest "blatant interference in the kingdom's domestic affairs, against basic global norms and all worldwide protocols", and an "unacceptable affront" to its "laws and judicial process".

"We are always going to speak up for human rights, we are always going to speak up for women's rights and that is not going to change", Freeland said. "Therefore, Canada must correct its actions towards the kingdom".

She said: "We believe that Saudi Arabia, which has taken the path of massive social and economic transformations, has a full sovereign right to determine how to move forward in this important area".

Investigations against them are continuing and charges against them will be made public once cases reach the courts.

Watch the Canadian dollar trade in real-time here.

"It's up for the government of Saudi Arabia and the Canadians to work this out", said Heather Nauert, a spokesperson for the state department, on Tuesday. Saudi Arabia has invested about $6 billion in Canadian businesses since 2006, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

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