Saudi Arabia's diplomatic dispute with Canada: An explainer

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"We urge the Saudi authorities to immediately release them and all other peaceful human rights activists".

KSA gave the Canadian ambassador 24 hours to leave the country, in an abrupt rupture of relations over what it slammed as "interference" in its internal affairs.

Analysts say the dispute between Riyadh and Ottawa shows Saudi Arabia won't accept any outside criticism and will continue flexing its muscles overseas, especially as the kingdom enjoys a closer relationship with President Donald Trump.

Freeland added that The Embassy of Canada to Saudi Arabia, in Riyadh will continue its regular operations, including consular services. "We are always going to speak up for human rights; we're always going to speak up for women's rights; and that is not going to change", she told reporters in Vancouver on Monday.

Canada's largest refinery in Saint John, N.B., owned by Irving Oil, relies on Saudi Arabia for almost 40 per cent of its crude supply, according 2018 statistics from the National Energy Board.

Saudi Airlines tweeted earlier today announcing the suspension. Samar's brother, Raif Badawi, is a blogger who was arrested in 2012 and sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes for criticizing the Saudi clerics, for which he was convicted of "insulting Islam". Matt Pascuzzo said the Canadian government is in constant contact with Saudi Arabia and still waiting to get all the facts from the Saudis.

Saudi Arabia also froze all trade with Canada and, according to the Saudi government-owned Al-Arabiya news agency, will transfer all students studying in Canada to other countries.

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The diplomatic dispute between Canada and Saudi Arabia escalated extremely quickly and could take an intervention by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to cool down, former foreign affairs minister Peter MacKay says.

A number of rights campaigners, including award-winning gender rights activist Samar Badawi, have been arrested in the kingdom.

The arrests last week brought criticism from the Canadian government.

Mr Alzayani criticised Canada's statements and unsubstantiated allegations that he said violate the worldwide diplomatic norms and represent a flagrant and unacceptable interference in the internal affairs and encroach on the United Nations charter, the Bahrain News Agency reported.

Traders said they had received an official notice from the Saudi Grains Organization (SAGO) about its decision. His wife, Ensaf Haidar, lives in Canada and recently became a Canadian citizen.

There could be a sentiment among allies that, "Finally the Trudeau government is getting poked back in the eye by the Saudis".

"We are waiting to hear from Saudi Arabia details of its response and we look forward to hearing those details".