Dispute between Canada and Saudi Arabia escalates amid asset sell off

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This comes as Saudi Arabia sells Canadian assets as the kingdom increases its response to Ottawa's criticism of the arrest of a female activist.

"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". " It subsequently froze all new trade agreements with Canada and gave the Canadian ambassador to Riyadh 24 hours to leave". The country's state airline announced it is suspending operations to Canada, and the Saudis government is withdrawing more than 15,000 Saudi students from Canadian schools.

Saudi Arabia's main state wheat buying agency, the Saudi Grains Organization, has also told grains exporters it will no longer accept Canadian-origin grains in its global purchase tenders, according to European traders.

Jubeir added that Saudi Arabia was "considering additional measures" against Canada, without elaborating.

"We've been pretty clear in our dealings around the world and specifically in Saudi Arabia that we know that it's important that we bring Canadian values around the world". Saudia Airlines has also announced it will suspend flights to and from Canada starting August 13.

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Samar Badawi was arrested along with fellow campaigner Nassima al-Sadah last week, the latest targets of what Human Rights Watch called an "unprecedented government crackdown" on women activists.

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

The United States said Tuesday that both Canada and Saudi Arabia are "close partners" of the USA, and asked the Saudi government for more information of the detention of several activists.

"I don't think, understanding Saudi Arabia's foreign policy, that they're going to climb down from this, so we're at an impasse".

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.

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