Saudi Arabia renews rejection of interference in internal affairs

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Saudi Arabia renews rejection of interference in internal affairs

"Earlier we posted an image, which is why we deleted the post immediately". A pro-Saudi government Twitter account shared a tweet of a digitally-altered photo of the skyline of Toronto with an image of a jet plane imposed that appeared to be headed into skyscrapers. But Qatar, which has been locked in a diplomatic rift with Saudi Arabia and other neighbours for over a year, said on its foreign ministry's official Twitter account that the GCC secretary general's statement did not represent its view of the situation.

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said Monday the Canadian government will continue to raise its voice and defend human rights. "Canada will always stand up for human rights in Canada and around the world, and women's rights are human rights".

Saudi Arabia recalled its ambassador to Ottawa and ordered the Canadian envoy to Riyadh to leave within 24 hours, according to a news release issued by Saudi Arabia's Foreign Ministry.

First, the kingdom announced that it had expelled Canada's ambassador to the kingdom and frozen all new trade and investment transactions.

It has suspended scholarships for about 16,000 Saudi students attending colleges and universities in Canada and plans to relocate them to other countries, and the state airline Saudia is suspending flights to Toronto.

Canada's remarks are "an affront to the kingdom that requires a sharp response to prevent any party from attempting to meddle with Saudi sovereignty", the Ministry said in the news release.

In recent months Saudi Arabia has lifted a ban on women driving, but it has also arrested activists, including more than a dozen high profile campaigners for women's rights.

Canada doubled down on Monday.

"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 in Vancouver.

"He was sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in prison, he received 50 lashes in 2015 and he could receive others, but he hasn't", she said.

There has been a kingdom-wide crackdown on women's rights activists in the past few weeks with many being detained without charges.

College of New Caledonia information officer Dustin Ruth said CNC now does not have any students from Saudi Arabia and was not expecting any from the country for the upcoming semester. On the one hand, the Saudi leadership has become "insecure" and "paranoid", he told DW, but it is also possible that the "Saudis have had enough of Western criticism". Her brother's wife, Ensaf Haidar, lives in Canada and recently became a Canadian citizen. "They're friends, they're partners, as is Canada as well".

'Canada is easier to cut ties with than the rest, ' Bessma Momani, a professor at Canada's University of Waterloo, told AFP.

There could be a sentiment among allies that, "Finally the Trudeau government is getting poked back in the eye by the Saudis".

The diplomatic spat between Canada and Saudi Arabia that erupted over the weekend has left many wondering what exactly is going on.

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