Saudi-Canada Fight Shows Need for More Pipelines, Oil Group Says

There were 327 Saudi students at Mc Gill University last year.					Marie France Coallier  Montreal Gazette

There were 327 Saudi students at Mc Gill University last year. Marie France Coallier Montreal Gazette

However, Saudi Arabia's Foreign Ministry called Canada's plea a "grave and unacceptable violation of the kingdom's laws and procedures".

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".

"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.

Saudi Arabia, one the world's top executioners, beheaded 48 people in the first four months of 2018, according to Human Rights Watch - but crucifixions are rare.

The escalating trade battle between Canada and Saudi Arabia highlights the need for more pipelines to move oil and natural gas around the northern nation to improve its energy security, according to the Canadian oil industry's largest trade group.

Saudi investments in Canada include G3 Global Holdings Ltd., a joint venture between Bunge Ltd. and Saudi Agricultural & Livestock Investment Co., which purchased the former Canadian Wheat Board in 2015.

Canada sparked fury in Riyadh last week when it called for the "immediate release" of rights campaigners, including award-winning women's rights activist Samar Badawi, the sister of jailed blogger Raif Badawi.

Saudi Arabia immediately suspended new trade agreements with Canada and expelled its ambassador.

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Responding to a question about the reason for the activists' arrests, Saudi Arabia's foreign minister said that charges against them would be made public once their cases reach the courts, repeating earlier allegations that they had been in touch with foreign entities.

Since then, the Saudi kingdom has pursued a scorched-earth policy towards anything related to Canada.

The Canadian dollar fell on Wednesday after the Financial Times reported that Saudi Arabian officials instructed the kingdom's asset managers to dump their holdings of the country's assets.

Saudi-owned media blasted Canada for arresting a holocaust denier and other citizens.

The kingdom has suspended educational exchanges with Canada and moved Saudi scholars to other countries.

The bank had received no instructions to sell assets as they do not have any exposure there, the source said.

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected to hold a news conference in Montreal, where he will be pressed on the diplomatic crisis.

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