Saudi Arabia appears to threaten Canada in Tweet

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman left

The Saudi Foreign Ministry took exception to the wording of the tweet, calling it an attempt by Canada to interfere with the country's internal affairs.

Saudi Arabia has called Canada's actions a "blatant interference in the Kingdom's domestic affairs" and has responded with a series of diplomatic measures, including freezing new trade and investment with the country.

The Saudi government plans to move them immediately to other schools in countries like the U.S. and United Kingdom.

Riyadh on Sunday recalled its ambassador from Canada and gave the Canadian ambassador 24 hours to leave.

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.

"We are deeply concerned that Saudi Arabia has expelled Canada's ambassador in response to Canadian statements in defence of human rights activists detained in the kingdom".

Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland was quoted by Reuters as saying to reporters on Monday that "it would be a shame for those students if they are deprived of the opportunity to study here".

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The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia expresses its absolute and categorical rejection of the position of the Canadian Government. Very alarmed to learn that Samar Badawi, Raif Badawi's sister, has been imprisoned in Saudi Arabia.

Raif Badawi was arrested in 2012 for running a blog that promoted free speech and women's rights in Saudi Arabia.

Dan McTeague, a senior analyst at the fuel price tracking website GasBuddy, said any such disruption could easily be offset by alternative supply, as Saudi Arabia's oil continues to represent an increasingly small portion of Canada's crude imports.

Saudi Arabia's sudden sharp response to criticism shows the limits of reforms by Saudi Arabia's 32-year-old Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who runs its day-to-day government.

Later Monday, the row appeared to escalate as Riyadh said it will relocate thousands of Saudi students studying in Canada to other countries, and state airline Saudia announced it was suspending flights to and from Toronto.

But Riyadh's singling out of Canada is aimed at strongly discouraging other critical Western governments from speaking out, observers say.

It's not clear how the trade freeze will affect the Saudis' $15-billion deal to purchase light-armoured vehicles from London, Ont. -based General Dynamics Land Systems.

Infographic KSA, which is believed to be owned by a Saudi youth organization and backed by the Saudi government, has a history of posting infographics that support Saudi government positions and foreign policy.

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