Saudi Arabia’s state-run airline, Saudia, is suspending flights in and out of Toronto amid Saudi Arabia’s intensifying diplomatic row with Canada.

On Monday, Ottawa refused to back down in its defense of human rights after Riyadh froze new trade and investment and expelled the Canadian ambassador in retaliation for the country’s call to free seven arrested Saudi civil society activists.

Foreign minister Chrystia Freeland said, “Canada will always stand up for human rights in Canada and around the world, and women’s rights are human rights.”

“The Kingdom views the Canadian position as an affront to the Kingdom that requires a sharp response to prevent any party from attempting to meddle with Saudi sovereignty,” said the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

Further, Saudia on Monday announced on its Twitter account that it will end its 4x weekly Riyadh-Toronto Pearson via Jeddah service starting on August 13. Affected customers will be rebooked onto other flights.

On Sunday, Riyadh recalled its ambassador from Canada and gave the Canadian ambassador 24 hours to leave. The government banned new trade with Canada and ordered up to 15,000 Saudi students to be moved to programs in other countries such as the USA and the UK.

Featured image by End Burke via

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