Riyadh / Toronto – A political conflict has sparked between Saudi Arabia and Canada following the arrests of human rights activists Samar Badawi and Raif Badawi by Saudi Arabia. Saudi has announced its decision to stop airline services to Canada, which has criticised the establishment in Saudi Arabia. Saudi also plans to stage protest in this matter by calling back all its students who are currently studying in Canada. Moreover, the kingdom is also preparing to withdraw all its investments in Canada without caring for the financial losses that it might incur.
A few days ago, Saudi Arabia arrested the Badawi brother-sister duo after they criticised the establishment in the country. Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland had criticised the arrests. The Canadian Foreign Minister had accused Saudi Arabia of consistently violating human and women’s rights in the country. There was a strong reaction from Saudi over the Canadian Foreign Minister’s criticism. Saudi reprimanded Canada for trying to interfere with its internal matters and expelled the Canadian Ambassador to it.
Canadian Foreign Minister Freeland once again criticised the Saudi action and asserted that Canada will always stand up in support of human rights. Subsequently, Saudi announced freezing political as well as trade cooperation with Canada. The call for the halting of flight services that is scheduled to begin from 13th August has spread confusion among the Canadian tourists visiting Saudi.
Saudi Arabia has suggested all its students who have completed their education in Canada to return to their homeland. There are more than 7,000 Saudi students in Canada. Saudi has indicated that it will arrange to secure admissions for them in reputed institutions in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. Moreover, Saudi has also announced the withdrawal of the medical aid being provided to Canada.
In view of Saudi’s successive aggressive decisions, it is apparent that the country has declared a strong diplomatic war against Canada. A British daily has claimed that Saudi Arabia may withdraw its investments in Canada soon and has issued orders to those managing its overseas assets, to sell the equity and bonds held in Canada at discounted prices. Saudi has also suggested its officials that they need not worry about the losses incurred in these transactions.