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Canada tweeted that it was "gravely concerned" about a new wave of arrests of women's-rights activists in the kingdom, which angered Saudi Arabia and prompted the country to retaliate with a series of diplomatic measures aimed at signalling its strength.

As a result of the Canadian government tweets, Saudi Arabia expelled Canada's ambassador to the country, Dennis Horak, and recalled its envoy in Canada.

Analysts say the dispute between Riyadh and Ottawa shows Saudi Arabia won't accept any outside criticism and will continue flexing its muscles overseas, especially as the kingdom enjoys a closer relationship with President Donald Trump.

The decision to freeze new trade agreements could threaten Canada's $15-billion arms deal that includes providing armoured vehicles to the kingdom, but Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said it was "premature" to comment on its status.

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'Canada will always stand up for human rights, in Canada and around the world, and women's rights are human rights, ' Freeland told an audience in Vancouver. Samar is a vocal campaigner for her brother Raif Badawi, a blogger who was arrested in Saudi Arabia in 2012.

Saudi Arabia is hitting back at Canada after Canadian diplomats called on the kingdom to release recently detained women's rights activists.

On Friday, the Canadian government sent out a tweet condemning the arrests of women's rights activists, including Samar Badawi, the sister of jailed dissident Raif Badawi.

Saudi Arabia says it will withdraw all of its students studying in Canada in an intensifying feud between the two countries. Saudi Arabia's media ministry said it was investigating the incident.

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Meanwhile, through a statement published by the Palestinian Press Agency, President Mahmoud Abbas also assured the support of Palestinians to Saudi Arabia and its move against Canada's intervention.

In the statement, the ministry said, "Oman is following the current political situation between Saudi Arabia and Canada and affirms its position of not interfering in the internal affairs of other countries".

'There isn't a strong bilateral trade relationship and poking the Trudeau government likely resonates with Saudi's hawkish regional allies.

Saudi Arabian crude and equivalents accounted for just nine per cent of Canada's crude imports in 2016, according to figures from Natural Resources Canada.

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"We are waiting to hear from Saudi Arabia details of its response and we look forward to hearing those details".


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