Saudi Arabian agency stops buying Canadian wheat, barley

Saudi Arabian agency stops buying Canadian wheat, barley

Saudi Arabia expelled the Canadian ambassador 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. Samar's brother, Raif Badawi, is a blogger who was arrested in 2012 and sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes for criticizing the Saudi clerics, for which he was convicted of "insulting Islam".

Saudi Arabia has denounced the tweets as "blatant interference in the country's domestic affairs", as well as a "major, unacceptable affront to the kingdom's laws and judicial process". Saudi authorities accused Ottawa of interfering with its internal affairs. 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.

"As of Tuesday August 7, 2018, Saudi Grains Organization (SAGO) can no longer accept milling wheat or feed barley cargoes of Canadian origin to be supplied", a copy of the notice seen by Reuters said.

Triggered by Ottawa's comments expressing concern over the arrests of activists in Saudi Arabia, the dispute shows no sign of end with the Kingdom announcing one action after another to escalate the row between the two USA allies. It could also have an impact on Canadian oil imports: Canada imports nine per cent of its crude oil from Saudi Arabia, much of which goes to the Atlantic provinces.

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.

The accounts, which are followed by a number of Saudi diplomatic figures, are verified and largely share government announcements and pro-Riyadh messages.

How did Saudi Arabia react?

Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland later indicated that Canada was "seriously concerned" by Saudi Arabia's actions.

The dispute appears centred around tweets by Canadian diplomats calling on the kingdom to "immediately release" detained women's rights activists.

Badawi's wife and children now live in Canada.

The spokesman of the Ministry of Education Mubarak Al-Ossaimi confirmed that the ministry is working on preparing and carrying out an urgent plan for facilitating the transfer of Saudi scholarship students to other countries.

Riyadh on Sunday recalled its ambassador from Canada and gave the Canadian ambassador 24 hours to leave. But the task of approving the export permits fell to the Liberals, who were lobbied by human rights activists to say no. In 2014, the Canadian unit of USA weapons maker General Dynamics Corp won a contract worth up to $13 billion to build light-armoured vehicles for Saudi Arabia, in what Ottawa said was the largest advanced manufacturing export win in Canadian history.

She noted most of the Saudi students are not here short-term.

"I don't think it will worsen the situation because very often when we make evident unjust imprisonments, like the case of Samar Badawi, that increases their protection and increases pressure on the government", she said in an interview Monday.

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