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US Weighs In on Saudi-Canada Diplomatic Dispute

US Weighs In on Saudi-Canada Diplomatic Dispute

In another explicit display of the country's displeasure with Canada, Saudi Arabia's state airline has suspended all flights to and from Toronto.

Saudi Arabia expelled the Canadian ambassador on Monday and froze "all new business" with Ottawa over its criticism of the ultraconservative kingdom's arrest of women's rights activists - yet another warning to the West reflecting Riyadh's newly assertive foreign policy.

Canada tweeted that it was "gravely concerned" about a new wave of arrests of women's-rights activists in the kingdom, which angered Saudi Arabia and prompted the country to retaliate with a series of diplomatic measures aimed at signaling its strength.

McTeague said the risk of Saudi Arabia causing gas prices to rise is minimal - even locally in New Brunswick - given the "very robust market" globally for crude and Irving Oil's allocation to the US northeast. Raif Badawi, who won Europe's top human rights prize in 2015, was later sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes for insulting Islam while blogging.

The kingdom will suspend educational exchange programs with Canada and move Saudi scholarship recipients to other countries, Saudi-owned Al Arabiya reported on Monday.

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The image reminded many social media users of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, in which planes were deliberately flown into the World Trade Center towers in NY and the Pentagon.

Hundreds of students from Saudi Arabia attend universities in Nova Scotia but recent tensions between Canada and Saudi Arabia are putting that in jeopardy.

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

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.

One well placed source said the Liberal government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau - which stresses the importance of human rights - planned to reach out to the United Arab Emirates.

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In the fist comments by Washington since the dispute erupted, a U.S. State Department official said the United States had asked Riyadh for details on the detention of activists.

The Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs responded by expressing concern over Saudi Arabia's actions, but resolving to stand their ground.

"Saudi Arabia is shooting itself in the foot".

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

"These countries are able to host the students, and we at the ministry are committed to facilitating the students' transfers so they can easily complete their education", he said.

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