Saudi Arabia mulls further action against Canada amid escalating row


Saudi Arabia is considering further measures against Canada, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubair said on Wednesday, amid an escalating diplomatic row between the two countries.

On Sunday, Saudi Arabia expelled the Canadian ambassador, and froze trade and new investments with Canada after Ottawa called on Riyadh to release detained rights activists.

“Additional measures against Canada are being considered,’’ al-Jubeir said at a news conference in Riyadh, without elaborating.

He blamed Canada for the current crisis. “It made a mistake and has to correct it,’’ he added.

Sunday’s Saudi steps came after Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland tweeted that Canada was “very alarmed’’ to learn Saudi authorities have arrested Samar Badawi, the sister of a jailed Saudi blogger, along with prominent activist Nassima al-Sada.

Saudi officials condemned the Canadian remarks, calling them “blatant interference’’ in the oil-rich kingdom’s affairs.

Al-Jubeir said Wednesday that the detainees had been trained by some countries, which he did not name, allegedly to gather “sensitive’’ information.

He added that charges against them would be made public after their case is sent to the court.

Human rights groups denounced the arrest of Badawi and al-Sada earlier.

Amnesty International said the two detained women had been repeatedly targeted, harassed and placed under travel bans for their human rights activism. (NAN)

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