RIYADH: First, the kingdom announced that it had expelled Canada’s ambassador to the kingdom and frozen all new trade and investment transactions.
Now, Saudi Arabia’s state airline has announced the suspension of its direct flights to Canada, starting August 13.
The airline has announced an immediate suspension of reservations on its flights to Toronto and the suspension of all flights to and from Toronto from August 13, said a report in Saudi Press Agency, citing an official statement from the airline.
The airline said it would cover cancellation fees, find alternative flights and issue refunds to passengers set to fly out to Canada.
The country’s reactions don’t stop there. The kingdom announced an order to withdraw all Saudi citizens studying in Canadian universities, numbering somewhere between 12,000 and 15,000. All scholarships for Saudi students in Canada were also suspended. The students will reportedly be placed in programs in other countries, such as the U.S. or U.K.
The Saudi reactions came in response to statements by Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland and Foreign Policy Canada late last week, condemning the arrests of women’s rights activists, including Canadian citizen Samar Badawi and calling for her release