Saudi Arabian Airlines Suspending Flights To and From Canada

Analysis
              
                
       Screenshot

Analysis Screenshot

Canada's recent criticism of the treatment of women's rights activists in Saudi Arabia has sparked a diplomatic spat with Riyadh.

Trade between Canada and Saudi Arabia exceeded $4-billion (€ 3.4 billion) previous year, a significant portion of it came from a controversial multibillion-dollar deal to sell combat vehicles equipped with machine guns and cannons to the Saudis, according to The Globe and Mail.

The Saudi foreign ministry has also launched special operations room to follow up with Saudi students in Canada following measures to transfer them from the country's universities.

Meanwhile, the U.S. State Department offered a tepid response to the sanctions that took pains to avoid taking sides, saying it is "aware" of Saudi Arabia's actions and considers both countries to be "close partners" of the United States.

While total trade between Canada and Saudi Arabia averages around $4 billion annually, the market had been considered relatively stable by Canadian grain exporters, notably those who specialize in barley.

On Tuesday, Finance Minister Bill Morneau appeared to downplay the financial impact of the diplomatic dispute.

"It's something that we do", Freeland said.

Though Canada is an official USA ally through North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, the US also has deep financial and diplomatic ties with Saudi Arabia.

The flights to Toronto Pearson International Airport will be suspended beginning August 13, according to the announcement the carrier published on its Twitter. The state airline operates at least two routes flying from Toronto.

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It says there were 327 students from Saudi Arabia at McGill during the 2017-2018 academic year.

Speaking in Mississauga, Finance Minister Bill Morneau said it's important the government bring Canadian values into its dealings around the world.

"We're waiting for answers on how Saudi Arabia intends to go forward with the relationship", she said.

'It is now time for other governments to join Canada in increasing the pressure on Saudi Arabia to release all prisoners of conscience immediately and unconditionally, ' said Samah Hadid, Amnesty International's Middle East campaigns director.

"We continue to encourage the government of Saudi Arabia to respect due process and to publicise information on the status of legal cases", the official added.

"I think the students are in shock right now.they haven't really understood what will happen and what their next steps are", she added.

In 2014, the Conservative government approved a C$15b arms deal that would allow a Canadian company to sell military vehicles to the Saudi government.

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The kingdom asked on Monday the Canadian envoy to leave the country and recalled its ambassador from Canada. In 2015, Riyadh recalled its ambassador to Sweden and stopped issuing work visas for Swedes after the European Union member country's foreign minister described the Badawi court decision as "medieval" and the kingdom's ruling Al Saud family as presiding over a "dictatorship".

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