Saudi Arabia Expels Canadian Ambassador

Saudi Arabia Expels Canadian Ambassador

Canada has become embroiled in a diplomatic dust-up with Saudi Arabia.

     The Saudi foreign ministry tweeted Sunday that it had ordered Canada's ambassador to leave the country with 24 hours, was recalling its own ambassador in Ottawa, and was freezing all new trade and investment transactions with Canada.

     The dispute appears to be over a tweet on Friday from Global Affairs Canada calling for Saudi Arabia to ``immediately release'' recently arrested civil and women's rights activists, including Samar Badawi.

     Amnesty International has said Badawi, the sister of jailed blogger Raif Badawi, was recently detained along with Nassima al-Sada, another prominent female activist.

     Raif Badawi's wife and three children live in Quebec and became Canadian citizens last month.

     The Saudi foreign ministry called the use of ``immediately release'' in Canada's tweet ``unfortunate, reprehensible, and unacceptable in relations between states.''

     A spokeswoman for Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said Ottawa is seriously concerned about the situation and will seek ``greater clarity'' on the Saudi statement.

     Marie-Pier Baril added that Canada will always stand up for the protection of human rights, including women's rights, and freedom of expression around the world.

Shortly after, a Twitter account ran by Saudi's threatened, and deleted, what appeared to be the Toronto skyline with a 9/11 style attack.

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