Maritime universities could see exodus of Saudi students

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Now, Saudi Arabia's state airline has announced the suspension of its direct flights to Canada, starting August 13.

After Saudi authorities arrested women's rights activist Samar Badawi last week, Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland tweeted that Canada "stands together" with Badawi and her detained sister, who is also an activist, Raif Badawi.

Thomas Juneau, an assistant professor at the University of Ottawa's Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, estimated the overall trade relationship between Canada and Saudi Arabia totals between $3 and $4 billion a year.

"Throughout its long history, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has never accepted any interference in its domestic affairs by, or orders from any country", the country's foreign ministry wrote on Twitter, accompanied by a weird and long-winded statement.

The Saudi government also banned new trade with Canada, although it was unclear if it would affect existing annual Saudi-Canadian trade of almost $4 billion and a $13 billion defence contract.

Saudi Arabia's market closure comes on the heels of ongoing trade disputes in other key Canadian grain markets including Italy, Peru, Vietnam, and India as well as increased protectionist sentiments within the United States.

Canada has said it's alarmed by the move out of Saudi Arabia, but has not walked back the comments that apparently prompted the row in the first place.

Saudi Arabia Expels Canadian Ambassador, To Withdraw Students From Canada Over Women's Rights Criticism

Canada and Saudi Arabia began sparring last week when a Canadian official spoke out against the recent arrest of a Saudi human rights activist.

The Saudi Foreign Ministry took exception to the use of the term "immediately release", calling it "unfortunate, reprehensible, and unacceptable in relations between states". Canada´s previous Conservative government, which lost power to the Liberals in 2015, also had challenges with Riyadh over human rights.

"Both Canada and the U.S. lost the Middle East market a long time ago. because they are at a freight disadvantage (with higher ocean shipping costs) to the European Union and Black Sea export markets", the consultant said. Ms. Nauert noted the Americans have a "regular dialogue with the government of Saudi Arabia on human rights and other issues". She is a Canadian citizen whose brother, Raif Badawi, a blogger who was critical of the government, was already in jail in the Saudi kingdom.

Saudi Arabia expelled the Canadian ambassador Monday and froze "all new business" with Ottawa over criticism of its arrest of women's rights activists.

Saudi Arabia has apparently threatened a 9/11-style aircraft attack on Canada in an astonishing tweet.

The Saudi cabinet renewed on Tuesday its rejection of any interference in its internal affairs, Saudi Press Agency reported.

Dan McTeague, a senior analyst at the fuel price tracking website GasBuddy, said any such disruption could easily be offset by alternative supply, as Saudi Arabia's oil continues to represent an increasingly small portion of Canada's crude imports. In tandem, the Saudi ambassador to Canada would also be recalled as well in light of the spat.

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