Saudi Arabia-Canada spat explained

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The Saudi Kingdom was less than thrilled about Canada's "interference", saying it had no business to meddle in its local affairs.

"It absolutely rejects its unacceptable intervention in Saudi internal affairs".

Egypt saw crucial U.S. military aid frozen past year over its own human rights record amid one of its toughest ever crackdowns on dissent, but that decision was reversed last month.

Riyadh, which suspended diplomatic relations with Canada on Monday, will "stop training, scholarship and fellowship programs" there, state-run Al-Ekhbariya television reported.

A Financial Times reporter, Ahmed Al Omran, citing Saudi state TV, tweeted that students would be transferred to schools in the USA, the UK, Australia, and New Zealand.

Momani called it, "getting tough on Canada", which she said other countries in the region might welcome if they view Canadian foreign policy to be led by human rights concerns.

"Canada is gravely concerned about additional arrests of civil society and women's rights activists in Saudi Arabia, including Samar Badawi, " the tweet said.

The Middle Eastern nation has also frozen all new trade and investment with Canada, according to the Saudi Press Agency. Matt Pascuzzo said the Canadian government is in constant contact with Saudi Arabia and still waiting to get all the facts from the Saudis. Raif Badawi was arrested in 2012 for running a blog that promoted free speech and women's rights in Saudi Arabia.

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"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", Freeland tweeted.

Genevieve Paul, the director of Amnesty's francophone branch, points out that pressure is put on the Saudi government when news of such arrests becomes public.

Media reports suggested Saudi Arabia would cancel scholarships for more than 15,000 students now attending school in Canada.

Among the arrested is Samar Badawi, an award-winning women's-rights activist who sought to abolish the country's male-guardianship laws. The kingdom announced an order to withdraw all Saudi citizens studying in Canadian universities, numbering somewhere between 12,000 and 15,000.

There are roughly 60 Saudi students enrolled at Concordia University, but officials said they can't comment until more details are available.

The moves were in retaliation to a Canadian government tweet that expressed concerns about the arrests of activists in the Saudi kingdom.

"Particularly in smaller and rural institutions where many of our Canadian students don't necessarily have the opportunities of living in a large urban centre where they would be exposed to many different types of cultural experiences, it's even more important for us that we bring that kind of diversity to our campus", Weeks said.

On Wednesday, Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Adel bin Ahmed al Jubeir said there's nothing to mediate in its dispute with Canada and that "Canada knows what it needs to do".

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