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Saudi says no room for mediation in Canada row

Saudi says no room for mediation in Canada row

Saudi Arabia suspended diplomatic ties and halted new trade dealings late Sunday following comments by Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland criticizing the kingdom for arrests of women's rights activists.

European traders said Saudi Arabia's main state wheat buying agency, the Saudi Grains Organization (SAGO), has told grains exporters it will no longer accept Canadian-origin grains in its worldwide purchase tenders.

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

It remains unclear how many Saudi patients will be affected by the decision.

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.

But Canada sold 66,000 tonnes of barley to Saudi Arabia in 2016, and twice that previous year.

Responding to a question about the reason for the arrest of the activists, Jubeir repeated earlier allegations that they had been in touch with foreign entities.

"The crisis with Canada was imposed on us", the foreign minister added.

All Saudi Arabian students now studying in Canada will be transferred to other countries. Saudi Arabia's airline suspended flights to and from Canada, potentially complicating travel plans for Canada's Muslim population as the annual Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca approaches later in August.

Saudi Arabia's Foreign Ministry called the statement "a major, unacceptable affront to the kingdom's laws and judicial process".

"It's up for the government of Saudi Arabia and the Canadians to work this out", said Heather Nauert, a spokesperson for the state department, on Tuesday.

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.

Yes. In 2015, Riyadh recalled its ambassador to Sweden and stopped issuing work visas for Swedes after the European Union member country's foreign minister described a court decision related to Raif Badawi as "medieval" and the kingdom's ruling Al Saud family as presiding over a "dictatorship". 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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