Canadian dollar whipsaws as row with Saudi Arabia escalates

Canadian dollar whipsaws as row with Saudi Arabia escalates

Canadian dollar whipsaws as row with Saudi Arabia escalates

Saudi Arabia is bringing the diplomatic hammer down on Canada, sending a warning to countries around the world: criticize our human rights record and pay the price. The Saudi government on Sunday recalled its ambassador to Ottawa, barred Canada's envoy from returning and placed a ban on new trade, denouncing Canada for statements about people detained on criminal charges.

Russian Federation voiced support for Saudi Arabia in its worsening row with Canada, telling Ottawa it was unacceptable to lecture the kingdom on human rights.

"Canada stands together with the Badawi family in this hard time", she tweeted on Friday, referring to the jailed women's rights activist, "and we continue to strongly call for the release of both Raif and Samar Badawi".

Saudi Arabia is considering additional measures against Canada amid reports it plans to unload its holdings of Canadian stocks and bonds as a dispute over women's rights activists intensifies. "A mistake has been made and a mistake should be corrected", the Saudi minister said.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that human rights should be promoted with respect for specific national customs and traditions.

So far this year, Canada has exported $1.4 billion in merchandise goods to Saudi Arabia and imported $2 billion, according to Statistics Canada data.

Saudi Arabia immediately suspended new trade agreements with Canada and expelled its ambassador.

Analysts and regional officials say that Riyadh's actions have little to do with Canada; instead, the kingdom's actions are a broader signal to western governments that any criticism of its domestic policies is unacceptable.

Travel to the country will also be affected in light of an announcement from Saudia Airlines on Tuesday that it will suspend flights to and from Canada starting August 13. It stopped medical treatment of Saudis in Canada and made arrangements to bring home Saudi patients. Saudi students studying in Canada now have the opportunity to transfer to 18 different countries to continue their studies "without being affected", Saudi Arabia's Deputy Minister of Education for Scholarship, General Supervisor of Cultural Attachés Jasser Al-Harbash told Al Arabiya English on Tuesday.

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