Saudia to suspend Canadian flights


Amid a diplomatic spat between Saudi Arabia and Canada, a pro-government Saudi Twitter account shared - and then deleted - a digitally altered image that appeared to show a plane flying toward the skyline of Toronto.

Meanwhile, Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland on Monday said Canada isn't backing down from its position that leads to the diplomatic dispute.

Saudi Arabia will withdraw all of its students studying in Canada in an intensifying feud between the two countries. Well, sure, but we're talking about Saudi Arabia here.

"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.

The country's state airline also cancelled all direct flights to Toronto. Heather Nauert said it is up to Canada and Saudi Arabia to resolve their differences.

Saudi Arabia is not happy with Canada.

Former Conservative foreign affairs minister John Baird said he thinks Canada shares blame for what has happened.

The decision came after Canada demanded the immediate release of human rights activists detained in a new crackdown, including the sister of jailed blogger Raif Badawi.

The Saudi foreign ministry singled out the words "immediately release", calling the phrase "unfortunate, reprehensible, and unacceptable in relations between states".

Riyadh said that amounted to "blatant interference in the Kingdom's domestic affairs, against basic worldwide norms and all global protocols".

The TRU spokesperson said it wasn't clear how numerous Saudi students on campus receive that kind of funding.

Among the arrested activists is Samar Badawi, whose writer brother Raif Badawi was arrested in Saudi Arabia in 2012 and later sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in prison for insulting Islam while blogging.

The European Commission also struck a neutral tone in its response, saying it is seeking clarification about the arrest of activists, but avoided being drawn into the dispute between Riyadh and Canada.

"We're going to stand with the values that we know are important to Canadians and Saudi Arabia will take the decisions that they take", Morneau said.

The dispute looks set to damage what is a modest bilateral trade relationship worth almost $4 billion a year.

"We stand by what we have said".

"The only people buying oil from Saudi Arabia would be Irving".

Doug Wilson-Hodge, manager of corporate affairs for General Dynamics, said Tuesday that the company won't comment because the matter is between Ottawa and Saudi Arabia.

"There is a clear, uniquely Saudi dimension to this in the sense that in the last three years Saudi Arabia has been behaving very aggressively and assertively in the Middle East", he said, noting the blockade of Qatar and the war in Yemen.

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.