Saudi Arabia withdrawing students from Canada


Days after Saudi Arabia expelled Canada's ambassador, the country has chose to freeze new trade deals and force Saudi students studying in Canada to leave. The country's state airline announced it is suspending operations to Canada, and the Saudis government is withdrawing more than 15,000 Saudi students from Canadian schools.

Saudi Arabia's main state wheat buying agency told grains exporters it will no longer accept Canadian-origin grains in worldwide tenders, European traders said.

Saudi Arabia has restricted travel, medical access, and students' scholarships to Canada while using its state-owned media to bash the country as unjust.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Adel al-Jubeir, Saudi Arabia's foreign minister, said the kingdom was still "considering additional measures" against Canada.

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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.

Investigations against them are continuing and charges against them will be made public once cases reach the courts. We are going to continue to enunciate what we believe are the appropriate ways of dealing with citizens, " Finance Minister Bill Morneau said on Tuesday.

Some analysts perceive the move as both a power play for the kingdom's young leader and a demonstration put on for the benefit of countries with stronger ties to Saudi Arabia than Canada.

"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.

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

A source at a Saudi bank told Reuters the bank was contacted by the central bank on Wednesday afternoon asking for information about all their Canadian exposure - investments in Canada and foreign exchange positions.

Diplomatic channels and trade negotiations were suspended last week, and some flights from Saudi Arabia to Canada halted. Canadian exports to Saudi Arabia were about $1.12 billion in 2017, or 0.2 percent of the total value of Canadian exports.

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