Oman issues statement on Saudi-Canada stand-off

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Saudi state airline Saudia also announced Monday that it would suspend flights to and from Toronto starting August 13.

Pain at the gas pumps will not be an issue if escalating tensions between Ottawa and Saudi Arabia result in the oil-rich Gulf state halting Canada-bound shipments of its most famous export, according to a leading petroleum industry expert.

Saudi Arabia has blasted what it calls Canadian interference in its domestic affairs after a tweet on Sunday from the official Global Affairs Canada Twitter account saying there were "grave concerns" over the recent arrests of activists and calling for their "immediate release".

The British government on Tuesday urged Canada and Saudi Arabia to show restraint.

The news comes just weeks before thousands of Canadians are expected to travel to Saudi Arabia to perform Hajj.

The Twitter account belonging to infographic_KSA, who describe themselves as "a voluntary non-profit project managed by a group of Saudi youth who are interested in technology and social media", but widely seen as a pro- Saudi government, initially posted the threatening photo with the words: "Sticking one's nose where it doesn't belong!"

"The normal diplomatic route would have been to call the ambassador in and to let him know your displeasure and then to try to move from there", MacKay, Canada's foreign affairs minister from 2006 to 2007 and defence minister from 2007 to 2013, said in an interview with BNN.


Canada said it was "seriously concerned" by the escalation but vowed to continue to "stand up for human rights in Canada and around the world".

The move followed the Kingdom's announcement yesterday that it was expelling the Canadian ambassador and had recalled its envoy while freezing all new trade, in protest at Ottawa's vigorous calls for the release of jailed activists.

Samar is a vocal campaigner for her brother Raif Badawi, a blogger who was arrested in Saudi Arabia in 2012.

Prince Mohammed, heir to the region's most powerful throne, has introduced a string of reforms such as lifting a decades-long ban on women drivers in a bid to overhaul the kingdom's austere image. "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". "They are the best interlocutor for Canada in the region", he said.

"Very alarmed to learn that Samar Badawi, Raif Badawi's sister, has been imprisoned in Saudi Arabia".

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Canada's Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland hold a news conference after participating in the NATO Summit in Brussels, Belgium July 12, 2018.

When asked about the contract, Freeland said the government "looks forward" to hearing from Riyadh about the future of the deal.

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