Canadian PM refuses to apologise on rights defence in S Arabia spat

Pakistan supports Saudi Arabia in diplomatic row with Canada

Canada's public call for the kingdom to "immediately release" jailed human rights activists angered Saudi Arabia and the kingdom took punitive action, including canceling all flights to and from Toronto, beginning August 13.

On Wednesday, Riyadh also ordered all Saudi patients undergoing treatment in Canada to be transferred to other countries, as well as halted purchases of Canadian barley and wheat.

"We will do so in a constructive and polite way", he continued, "but we will also remain firm on standing up for human rights everywhere around the world".

The reaction from the Saudi government came after Chrystia Freeland, Canada's foreign affairs minster, tweeted a call for them to release regime critics from prison.

APK-Inform said a recent decision by Saudi Arabia's main state wheat buying agency to avoid buying Canadian wheat and barley in its global tenders, due to a political dispute, could also enable Ukraine to sell more to Saudi.

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The International Society for Human Rights (IGFM) based in Frankfurt said that Germany and the European Union must not remain passive in the dispute, German Press Agency dpa reported Friday. The Toronto Star reports that more than 200 of the University of Toronto's residents and fellows are from Saudi Arabia.

"Pakistan stands by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in protecting its sovereignty as a matter of principle and based on the historic and brotherly relations between our two countries", Foreign Office spokesperson Dr Muhammad Faisal said on Thursday.

"We are concerned about the potential implications on the affected Residents and are hopeful that this situation will be resolved further to the discussions that are ongoing", said Harry Gray, executive director of Resident Doctors of BC, in a written statement to The Ubyssey.

"Russia has refused and continues to refuse any attempt to politicize human rights issues", said the Press Secretary for Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova.

Even the United States, Canada's closest ally and partner, issued a very neutral statement, saying "Canada and Saudi Arabia are both close allies of the United States". On the possible sale of assets by major Saudi investors, Morneau said he couldn't confirm that any such thing is underway. "We can't do it for them, they need to resolve it together", Nauert said in a briefing. "I respect the rights of individual countries to make their decisions and speak for themselves".

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