Saudi Arabia on Monday ordered the Canadian ambassador to leave the kingdom within 24 hours after his nation criticized the recent arrest of women's rights activists. The Saudi Foreign Ministry also said it would freeze "all new business" between the kingdom and Canada, the AP reports. Some 10% of Canadian crude oil imports come from Saudi Arabia. "Any further step from the Canadian side in that direction will be considered as acknowledgment of our right to interfere in the Canadian domestic affairs," the Saudi Foreign Ministry said in an extraordinarily aggressive statement. "Canada and all other nations need to know that they can't claim to be more concerned than the kingdom over its own citizens."
Saudi Arabia said it would recall its ambassador to Canada as well. Marie-Pier Baril, a spokeswoman for Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, said Canada was "seriously concerned" by Saudi Arabia's actions. "Canada will always stand up for the protection of human rights, very much including women's rights, and freedom of expression around the world," she said in a statement. "Our government will never hesitate to promote these values and believes that this dialogue is critical to international diplomacy." The dispute appears centered around tweets by Canadian diplomats calling on the kingdom to "immediately release" detained women's rights activists.
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