Over 150 Sask. students could be affected by Saudi dispute

Analysis
              
                
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Earlier on Monday, Ottawa refused to back down in its defense of human rights after Riyadh froze new trade and investment and expelled the Canadian ambassador in retaliation for the country's call to free arrested Saudi civil society activists.

"Both Canada and the US lost the Middle East market a long time ago. because they are at a freight disadvantage (with higher ocean shipping costs) to the European Union and Black Sea export markets", the consultant said.

The Saudi Arabian Cultural Bureau, a wing of the country's Ministry of Education, announced on its website Monday that all training and scholarship programs in Canada will be suspended by the end of the Islamic calendar year in September.

"We're always going to speak up for woman's rights and that's not going to change", she said, adding that it wasn't the first time Canada has spoken out about human rights in Saudi Arabia. The agency tweeted that it was "gravely concerned" about certain detentions in the Kingdom, specifically that of Samar Badawi, the sister of a blogger jailed by Saudi authorities. Canadian officials say they'll also seek help from the United Arab Emirates, who will nearly certainly take the side of Saudi Arabia.

The group also immediately apologized for its maladroit tweet, saying the airplane was supposed to symbolize return of Saudi ambassador who has been recalled from Canada. Raif was arrested in 2015 and has been sentenced to seven years in prison as well as 1,000 lashes for "insulting Islam". "We can't do it for them; they need to resolve it together", US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told a briefing.

The next day, the Canadian foreign ministry called for their "immediate release".

Saudi Arabia in June lifted its ban on women from driving cars - a ban Samar Badawi and other women's rights activists have long campaigned against.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman recently went on a global tour touting proposed economic reforms and promoting his vision for the kingdom as "the next Europe".

It isn't clear what new business would be affected by Saudi Arabia's expulsion of Ottawa's envoy.

The city's General Dynamics Land Systems plant has been supplying light armoured vehicles to Saudi security forces, thanks to a huge, $15-billion contract signed by the federal government in 2014.

Armored tanks and personnel carriers have been Canada's biggest recent export to the kingdom.

"They might want to send a signal that they simply do not want to hear this anymore", said Steinberg. The Saudi government also banned new trade with Canada, although it was unclear if it would affect existing annual Saudi-Canadian trade of almost $4 billion and a $13 billion defence contract. Gabriel also made remarks that were seen as critical of the Saudi war in Yemen.

Guido Steinberg, a Middle East expert at the German Institute for worldwide and Security Affairs, believes there are two reasons why Saudi Arabia has reacted so harshly to the statements from the Canadian Foreign Ministry.

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