Saudi FM says 'nothing to mediate' in dispute with Canada

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The kingdom has also expelled Canada's ambassador Dennis Horak, giving him 24 hours to leave the country over the intensifying diplomatic row.

She had wrote on Twitter that she was "very alarmed" over the arrests of the activists in Saudi Arabia, and on Friday, Canada's foreign ministry called for their "immediate release".

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia's main state wheat-buying agency, Saudi Grains Organization (SAGO), issued a notice to exporters that it will no longer buy Canadian wheat and barley. "Therefore, Canada must correct its actions towards the kingdom".

Almost 100 global students in Waterloo Region could be affected as tensions heat up between Saudi Arabia and Canada.

However, he clarified that Canadian investments in Saudi Arabia were still ongoing, and there was no change.

Saudi holdings in Canada are relatively small, but not insignificant.

The Canadian currency dropped as much as 0.5 per cent to 76.21 USA cents after the Financial Times reported that the Saudi Arabia central bank and state pension funds have instructed their overseas asset managers to dispose of Canadian assets starting Tuesday.

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The Persian Gulf country is, however, a major supplier of oil to Canada, with about nine per cent of Canada's oil imports coming from Saudi Arabia.

The United States said Tuesday that both Canada and Saudi Arabia are "close partners" of the USA, and asked the Saudi government for more information of the detention of several activists.

Diplomatically, Saudi Arabia's Foreign Ministry responded to Canada's call to free the women's rights activists as "blatant interference in the kingdom's domestic affairs".

"The matter is not about human rights; it is a matter of national security", the minister said.

In addition to the trade freeze, Riyadh has stopped sending patients to Canadian hospitals and "is coordinating for the transfer of all Saudi patients from Canadian hospitals".

A source at a Saudi bank told Reuters the bank was contacted by the central bank on Wednesday afternoon asking for information about all their Canadian exposure - investments in Canada and foreign exchange positions. Saudi Arabia announced it was suspending future trade with Canada and severing diplomatic ties. Canadian exports to Saudi Arabia were about $1.12 billion in 2017, or 0.2 percent of the total value of Canadian exports.

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