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Saudi Airlines suspends Canadian flights

Saudi Arabia Expels Canadian Ambassador, To Withdraw Students From Canada Over Women's Rights Criticism

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

We consider the Canadian ambassador to the kingdom persona non grata and order him to leave within the next 24 hours, ' the Saudi foreign ministry tweeted early Monday.

In her first public response to the escalating situation with Saudi Arabia, Canada's Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said the North American country was "seriously concerned" about the Kingdom's actions, and is "seeking greater clarity".

Since Monday social media has been saturated by the surprising news that Saudi Arabia made a decision to expel the Canadian ambassador, along with freezing trade and investment ties with Canada.

"Canada will always stand up for the protection of human rights, including women's rights and freedom of expression around the world", she said.

Momani called it, "getting tough on Canada", which she said other countries in the region might welcome if they view Canadian foreign policy to be led by human rights concerns.

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

"That for Saudi Arabia was the source of growing frustration", he said in a phone interview. Saudi Arabia long has been sensitive to global pressure over the Raif Badawi sentence.

The Saudi government plans to move them immediately to other schools in countries like the U.S. and United Kingdom. The infographic also accuses Canada of "sticking one's nose where it doesn't belong".

Saudi Arabia stunned officials on Sunday by announcing it was suspending future trade with Canada and severing diplomatic ties.

"Any other attempt to interfere with our internal affairs from Canada, means that we are allowed to interfere in Canada's internal affairs", the Saudi ministry's said.

The airline's announcement comes amid newly surfaced tensions between Canada and Saudi Arabia triggered by Ottawa's criticism of detentions in the kingdom. Saudi Arabia has said the arrests targeted people who sought to "destabilize the Kingdom" and were done by following the country's legal guidelines.

Saint Mary's University estimated there are about 100 students from Saudi Arabia studying at their campus while there were 80 at Mount Saint Vincent during the winter semester.

Garry Keller, who was chief of staff to ex-Conservative Foreign Minister John Baird, said the government needed to look at how it could help businesses that might be affected.

"These countries are able to host the students, and we at the ministry are committed to facilitating the students' transfers so they can easily complete their education", he said.