US, EU seek details of Saudi arrests but dodge Canada spat


The feud between Canada and Saudi Arabia has escalated quickly since it began on Friday, when Canada's Ministry of Foreign Affairs raised concerns about the Kingdom's human rights record.

A Reuters report, quoting a State Department official, said the U.S. has urged the Saudis to respect due process, in the first comments by Washington since the dispute erupted between Riyadh and Ottawa over the arrest of rights campaigners.

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

"The Saudi students - and their tuition - will be placed in study programs in other countries with similar education systems, such as the United Kingdom or the United States", according to the official. All scholarships for Saudi students in Canada were also suspended.

Ensaf Haidar, Raif Badawi's wife, who lives in Quebec with her three children, said Monday she was surprised when she heard about the two new arrests.

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Speaking to reporters in Vancouver on Monday, Freeland said Canada is "very comfortable" with its position that led to the new measures announced by Saudi Arabia.

The Saudi foreign ministry ordered Horak to leave the country, and called the use of "immediately release" in Canada's tweet "unfortunate, reprehensible, and unacceptable in relations between states".

Canada has asked its global friends to help end a rift between it and Saudi Arabia.

McTeague said the risk of Saudi Arabia causing gas prices to rise is minimal - even locally in New Brunswick - given the "very robust market" globally for crude and Irving Oil's allocation to the US northeast. "But we would encourage both governments to work out their issues together".

Media reports suggested Saudi Arabia would cancel scholarships for more than 15,000 students now attending school in Canada. Her former husband, Waleed Abu al-Khair, is now serving a 15-year prison sentence for his human rights work and her brother, the famed activist and blogger - Raif Badawi - has been sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes for setting a website for public discourse.

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Such efforts could bring a serious negative impact to Canada's economy, although the move also raises questions over the reliability of Saudi Arabia's foreign investment as it seeks to promote internal economic growth.

Al Jubeir said the charges against women's rights activists Samar Badawi and Nassima al Sada will be made public once the case reaches the courts.

The TRU spokesperson said it wasn't clear how numerous Saudi students on campus receive that kind of funding.

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". "We can't do it for them", said State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert.

The Saudi media ministry demanded the owner of the Twitter account shut it down pending an investigation into the matter.

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