Saudi Arabia's state airline to suspend Canadian operations starting August 13

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

The Middle Eastern nation has also frozen all new trade and investment with Canada, according to the Saudi Press Agency.

Earlier this week, Riyadh froze all trade and education ties with Canada and expelled the country's ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

"The normal diplomatic route would have been to call the ambassador in and to let him know your displeasure and then to try to move from there", MacKay, Canada's foreign affairs minister from 2006 to 2007 and defence minister from 2007 to 2013, said in an interview with BNN.

Freeland late on Monday also tweeted an official statement saying that Canada would "continue to advocate for human rights and for the fearless women and men who push for these fundamental rights around the world".

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said Monday the Canadian government will continue to raise its voice and defend human rights.

The Saudi Foreign Ministry took exception to the use of the term "immediately release", calling it "unfortunate, reprehensible, and unacceptable in relations between states".

State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said Tuesday that the USA raises such issues privately with Saudi Arabia - and that it is up to the Saudis and Canadians to work this out, but she declined to condemn the activist's arrest.

The rift between the federal government and Saudi Arabia has prompted the country's state airline to suspend operations in Canada.

"Some of these issues we choose to discuss privately with our friends, with our partners, with our allies", Nauert said.

"The United Arab Emirates are going to want to maintain relationships with Canada".

"Canada does not understand its place and it tried to impose itself on the Kingdom's policies in its ministry of foreign affairs statement as if to place itself above other countries in the world", he said. But his reforms include no changes that would liberalize a political system that allows no public dissent.

In response, Canada has refused to back down.

The airline's announcement comes amid newly surfaced tensions between Canada and Saudi Arabia triggered by Ottawa's criticism of detentions in the kingdom.

Canadian exports to Saudi Arabia totaled about $1.12 billion in 2017, or 0.2 percent of the total value of Canadian exports. The infographic also accuses Canada of "sticking one's nose where it doesn't belong".

Saudi-Canadian trade consists largely of Saudi exports of petrochemicals, plastics and other products.

Freeland would only tell reporters Monday that the Canadian ambassador is "fine" and would not disclose his location.

"For Saudi Arabia to punish Canada, it's fairly easy because we're not an important country for them, either are they for us", he said.

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