Saudi decision to withdraw scholarship students will affect dozens in Calgary

Saudi decision to withdraw scholarship students will affect dozens in Calgary

Within a day, Saudi Arabia expelled the Canadian ambassador, froze all new investment, and canceled all flights to Toronto.

Saudi state airline Saudia also announced Monday that it would suspend flights to and from Toronto starting August 13.

Saudi Arabia also suspended "all new business" and joint educational exchange programs with Canada.

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

Regardless of how allies and others are perceiving the measure, it has rallied support among Saudis, said Momani, adding that the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia has a very young nationalistic base, many of whom have taken to Twitter to celebrate the decision and simultaneously criticize Canada.

"Any further step from the Canadian side in that direction will be considered as acknowledgment of our right to interfere in Canadian domestic affairs", the Foreign Ministry said.

Saudi Arabia's market closure comes on the heels of ongoing trade disputes in other key Canadian grain markets including Italy, Peru, Vietnam, and India as well as increased protectionist sentiments within the United States.

In little more than a year, the kingdom has led a four-country coalition that severed ties with neighbouring Qatar, recalled its ambassador to Germany and cut back its trade dealings with some German companies amid a diplomatic row.

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St. Clair College said it has two students from Saudi Arabia, but they are not government-sponsored.

The trouble started Sunday when that country abruptly announced a series of measures created to punish Canada for speaking out about the jailing of human rights activists. "We are always going to speak up for human rights; we're always going to speak up for women's rights; and that is not going to change", she said.

Canada's recent criticism of the treatment of women's rights activists in Saudi Arabia has sparked a diplomatic spat with Riyadh.

The kingdom asked on Monday the Canadian envoy to leave the country and recalled its ambassador from Canada. Her brother's wife, Ensaf Haidar, lives in Canada and recently became a Canadian citizen.

The political activist Samar Badawi was presented with an International Women of Courage Award by Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama in 2012. It is unclear how many people this will affect, however, the Vancouver Sun said in 2015 about 5,000 news students arrive from Saudi Arabia each year.

Samar's brother, blogger Raif Badawi, was arrested in 2012 and sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in jail for "insulting Islam" in a case that sparked an global outcry.

According to a report from Saudi-owned media outlet, Al Arabiya, the country announced the "suspension of training, scholarships and fellowships to Canada and the transfer [of] all its students in that state to other countries".

Anwar Gargash, United Arab Emirates minister of state for foreign affairs, tweeted in Arabic that the UAE stands with Saudi Arabia in defending its sovereignty and its laws.

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