Saudi decision to withdraw scholarship students will affect dozens in Calgary

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The diplomatic spat between Canada and Saudi Arabia that erupted over the weekend has left many wondering what exactly is going on.

The moves were a stern rebuke to Canada after the country on Friday expressed concern over the arrests of activists in Saudi Arabia, including prominent women's rights campaigner Samar Badawi, and called for their release. Samar was recently arrested for her vocal protests and activism against the repressive "male guardianship system" within Saudi Arabia for which she won the U.S. International Women of Courage Award in 2012.

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

It estimates that at least 15 Saudi activists have been arrested since May 15, though some estimate the actual number of unreported arrests may be higher.

He received his first 50 lashes a year ago, according to HRW. His wife, Ensaf Haidar, lives in Canada and received Canadian citizenship in July.

We consider the Canadian ambassador to the kingdom persona non grata and order him to leave within the next 24 hours, ' the Saudi foreign ministry tweeted early Monday. Canada´s ambassador, Dennis Horak, is not in Riyadh.

Since the diplomatic feud erupted on Sunday, the federal Liberal government has said it stands by its decision to communicate its human-rights concerns with Saudi Arabia.

Saudia said it would be temporarily stopping inbound and outbound flights to Toronto Pearson International Airport - the only Canadian destination it serves - from August 13. Canadian officials say they'll also seek help from the United Arab Emirates, who will nearly certainly take the side of Saudi Arabia. This could affect 16,000 students who've been urged to study elsewhere.

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She declined to say whether Washington thinks Saudi Arabia overreacted.

Canadian officials responded by saying it would be a "shame" if Saudi students had their scholarships revoked. "Canada stands together with the Badawi family in this hard time, and we continue to strongly call for the release of both Raif and Samar Badawi".

'It is now time for other governments to join Canada in increasing the pressure on Saudi Arabia to release all prisoners of conscience immediately and unconditionally, ' said Samah Hadid, Amnesty International's Middle East campaigns director.

Some analysts perceive the move as both a power play for the kingdom's young leader and a demonstration put on for the benefit of countries with stronger ties to Saudi Arabia than Canada.

Canada will ask the United Kingdom and UAE to help cool tensions between itself and Saudi Arabia, after a diplomatic dispute broke out between the two countries this week.

Nauert added that the United States "would encourage the government of Saudi Arabia overall to address and respect due process".

According to Statistics Canada, the Canadian government's statistics agency, total Canadian wheat sales to Saudi Arabia excluding durum were 66,000 tonnes in 2017 and 68,250 tonnes in 2016.

According to State, the US has asked Saudi Arabia for more information about the detentions, and to publicize details about the status of legal cases.

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