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THE DAILY tribune, Thursday Aug 9, 2018 | Zul Qaadah 27, 1439

No room for mediation

Jeddah : Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister said yesterday there was “nothing to mediate” in the dispute with Canada. Adel Al Jubeir said that Ottawa knows what it needs to do to “fix its big mistake”. He also confirmed that the economic measures taken by Saudi Arabia only affect new investments by the Kingdom and that previous investments are still ongoing.

Speaking at a press conference in Riyadh, Al Jubeir said several countries stand with Saudi Arabia in its rejection of the Canadian government’s inference in its internal affairs. He also said that Canada should change its approach in dealing with Saudi Arabia, adding that it “knows what it needs to do.” He told Saudi citizens that the Kingdom is keen on protecting their interests in Canada. Al Jubeir also said the kingdom was considering implementing additional measures against Canada, but he did not elaborate. Saudi Arabia cut diplomatic ties and halted new investment in Canada on Sunday night after the Canadian foreign ministry urged the Kingdom to free civil and women’s rights activists arrested in the Kingdom.

Saudi Arabia accused Canada of interfering in its internal affairs. The kingdom has taken several measures to punish Ottawa. In addition to the trade freeze, Riyadh has stopped sending patients to Canadian hospitals, told Saudi trainee doctors in Canada to come home, suspended educational exchanges, and moved Saudi scholars to other countries. Saudi’s state airline said it was suspending flights to and from Toronto. Saudi Arabia’s main state wheat buying agency told grains exporters it will no longer accept Canadian-origin grains in international tenders, European traders said. Bilateral trade between Canada and Saudi Arabia is worth nearly $4 billion a year. 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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