Saudi Arabia has dramatically suspended diplomatic ties with Canada after Ottawa called for the release of women’s rights activists in the Middle Eastern country. Saudi Arabia recalled its ambassador in Canada and demanded that the Canadian envoy to Riyadh leaves within 24 hours. The Saudi foreign ministry blamed remarks last week by Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland and the Canadian embassy in Riyadh, criticizing the arrests of women’s rights activists, including Samar Badawi. She is a Canadian citizen whose brother Raif Badawi, a blogger who was critical of the Saudi monarchy, was already in jail in Saudi Arabia. Canada’s remarks were “an affront to the kingdom that requires a sharp response to prevent any party from attempting to meddle with Saudi sovereignty,” the ministry blasted. In November last year, Saudi Arabia recalled its ambassador to Germany after the German foreign minister commented on the political crisis in Lebanon.
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