The Saudi Press Agency reported that Khalid A. Al-Falih, the country’s oil minister, noted that oil supplies will not be subjected to political considerations.
The Middle Eastern nation announced just yesterday that they intended to halt all medical treatment programs for Saudi citizens in Canada, and were coordinating the transfer of Saudi patients to medical facilities outside of Canada.
They also announced on Monday that they were suspending all direct flights to Toronto on their state airline.
Saudi Arabia’s diplomatic row with Canada arose after the Canadian Foreign Office issued a statement of concern over the detainment of civil society and women’s rights activists.
The statement, published by Canada’s Foreign Office, stated: “Canada is gravely concerned about additional arrests of civil society and women’s rights activists in Saudi Arabia, including Samar Badawi.
“We urge the Saudi authorities to immediately release them and all other peaceful human rights activists.”
Canada’s Foreign Office was responding to reports from Amnesty International that leading women’s rights activist Samar Badawi, sister of imprisoned blogger Raif Badawi, was detained by Saudi police last week.
Canada’s Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland commented on Ms Badawi’s arrest, stating: “Very alarmed to learn that Samar Badawi, Raif Badawi’s sister, has been imprisoned in Saudi Arabia.
“Canada stands together with the Badawi family in this difficult time, and we continue to strongly call for the release of both Raif and Samar Badawi.”
Saudi Arabia consequently recalled its Ambassador to Canada, and the Canadian Ambassador in Riyadh Dennis Horak was declared persona non grata, and issued 24 hours to leave the country.
The Saudi government responded sharply to Ms Freeland’s statements, saying: “The Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs has expressed disbelief by this negative unfounded comment, which as not based in any accurate or true information.
“The persons referred to were lawfully detained by the Public Prosecution for committing crimes punishable by applicable law, which also guaranteed the detainees’ rights and provided them with due process during the investigation and trial.
“The Canadian statement is a blatant interference in the Kingdom’s domestic affairs, against basic international norms and all international protocols.
“It is a major, unacceptable affront to the Kingdom’s laws and judicial process, as well as a violation of the Kingdom’s sovereignty.”
“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.
“It is quite unfortunate to see the phrase ‘immediate release’ in the Canadian statement, which is a reprehensible and unacceptable use of language between sovereign states.”
In a direct threat to Canada, they concluded: “Any further step from the Canadian side in that direction will be considered as acknowledgement of our right to interfere in the Canadian domestic affairs.”
Ms Freeland responded defiantly to Saudi Arabia’s response, stating: “Let me be very clear with everyone here and with Canadians who may be watching and listening; Canada will always stand up for human rights in Canada and around the world, and women’s rights are human rights.
“There is nothing new or novel about Canada’s support for human rights, including women’s rights in Saudi Arabia.”