Saudi Arabia said Sunday it is recalling its ambassador from Canada, ordering Canada's ambassador to leave the country and freezing all new trade and investment transactions with this country in a spat over human rights.
The Kingdom will also freeze "all new business" with Canada..
Saudi Arabia has declared the ambassador of Canada persona non grata and ordered him to leave in 24 hours, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Monday.
The move followed vigorous calls by Canada for the immediate release of human rights activists swept up in a new wave of detentions, AFP said.
The ministry added that Saudi Arabia is recalling its ambassador to Canada in a dispute that appears to be over a tweet on Friday from Global Affairs Canada.
Saudi authorities last week arrested two prominent women rights activists, Samar Badawi and Nassima al-Saadah, and held them incommunicado, Saudi human rights groups said.
"Very alarmed to learn that Samar Badawi, Raif Badawi's sister, has been imprisoned in Saudi Arabia", she wrote.
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"Any further step from the Canadian side in that direction will be considered as acknowledgment of our right to interfere in the Canadian Domestic affairs", the statement reads.
The Saudi statement said it confirmed its commitment to refrain from intervening in the internal matters of other countries, including Canada, and in return rejected any intervention in its domestic affairs and internal relations with its citizens.
#Statement | We have been briefed by what the #Canadian foreign minister and the Canadian embassy to the #Kingdom released on what they named "civil society rights activists", and we affirm that this negative and surprising attitude is an incorrect claim. Canada also imports $2.6 billion in goods from Saudi Arabia, with the overwhelming majority being mineral products.
Criticism of the deal angered the Saudis, who said publicly that the contract was meant to be a gift to cement friendship between the two countries and noted Riyadh could easily have awarded it to manufacturers elsewhere in the world.
The arrests were in line with Saudi laws, and those detained have been provided with due process during investigation and trial, according to the foreign ministry statement.
"We are seriously concerned by these media reports and are seeking greater clarity on the recent statement from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia", said Marie-Pier Baril.