Sask. government fears trade disturbance during Canada-Saudi Arabia dispute

Saudi Arabia Says It Wants to Modernize—But Criticism Still Strikes a Nerve

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appeared to extend an olive branch on Wednesday, saying he would keep pressing Saudi Arabia on civil liberties but also saying the Gulf Arab state had made some progress on human rights.

The diplomatic dispute between Canada and Saudi Arabia which was sparked by the Canadian government voicing support for Raif and Samar Badawi, two sisters who have been imprisoned in the Islamic Kingdom for protesting for human rights for women, has escalated, the New York Post reports.

"We are not able at this time to fully assess the effect on the SNC-Lavalin Group's current and future business opportunities in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia".

The consultancy said Germany and Poland were the leading wheat exporters to Saudi Arabia but poor weather could hit their exportable surplus this year.

But while Saudi Arabia has been getting messages of support from regional allies and even rivals like Russia, Canada's Western allies - even those who had experienced similar Saudi outbursts in the past, such as Germany and Sweden - have chose to keep out of the latest dispute, at least publicly.

The top diplomats exchanged views on regional issues, the statement said, adding that the phone call also addressed the recent rift between Canada and Saudi Arabia.

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"We are witnessing a democratic constitutional state such as Canada being shown up and disciplined by Saudi Arabia, a state that tortures [citizens and] shows contempt for human rights", spokesman Martin Lessenthin said.

Saudi Arabia, angered by Canada's demand last week that jailed activists in the kingdom be freed immediately, expelled the Canadian ambassador, blocked imports of Canadian grain and ended state-backed educational and medical programs in Canada.

The 140-character limit, or 280 in some cases, is not enough to allow for the level of nuance that is required in diplomatic relations and tweets may not be subjected to the same rigorous review process, including sign off by the ambassador, that an official statement would be, he said.

Many Saudi media outlets and online personalities have taken to the web and airwaves to criticize Canada for everything from the opioid epidemic to its treatment of Indigenous Peoples.

"We should lead by example with them, not sort of bludgeon our trading partners with our Canadian principles". "We will continue to use the full range of methods of communication as appropriate".

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