THE DAILY tribune, Thursday Aug
9, 2018 | Zul Qaadah
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.