Saudi Arabia expelling Canadian ambassador

Chrystia Freeland

It also gave the Canadian ambassador 24 hours to leave the country and recalled its own ambassador to Canada, the statement by the Saudi foreign ministry said, according to Reuters.

Riyadh said Canada's statement about "civil society activists" was negative and unfair to the truth.

In its statement on Sunday, the Saudi foreign ministry suggested that the Canadian foreign ministry's demand was tantamount to interference in Riyadh's affairs and warned that any further action would be seen as a license to meddle in Canadian affairs.

Riyadh also released a statement on the official Saudi Press Agency in which it confirmed its commitment to not interfere in the internal affairs of other countries and in return rejected any intervention by them.

"The kingdom announces that it is recalling its ambassador to Canada for consultation".

"These fearless women represented the last vestiges of the human rights community in the country, and now they too have been detained", Amnesty International's Middle East research director Lynn Maalouf said in a statement.

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The dispute appears centered around a tweet by Global Affairs Canada calling on the kingdom to "immediately release" women's rights activists recently detained by the kingdom.

"Using the phrase (immediately release) in the Canadian statement is very unfortunate, reprehensible, and unacceptable in relations between States", the Saudi ministry said on Twitter.

The move followed vigorous calls by Canada for the immediate release of human rights activists swept up in a new wave of detentions, AFP said.

Canada's government has so far made no public comments on Saudi Arabia's diplomatic measures. Ms. Badawi is one of at least 18 civil-rights activists arrested since May, four of whom have been temporarily released, activists say.

Most of those arrested campaigned for the right to drive and an end to the country's male guardianship system, which requires women to obtain the consent of a male relative for major decisions. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia expresses its absolute and categorical rejection of the position of the Canadian Government. "At jeopardy, are the tens of thousands of Saudi students in Canada".

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