Saudi Arabia reportedly directing selloff of Canadian assets after criticism

Saudi Arabia-Canada spat hits 16,000 students as the Kingdom suspends scholarships

According to a report in the Financial Times, Saudi Arabia has started selling Canadian assets en masse, including stocks and bonds.

The Canadian embassy in Riyadh called on the Saudi authorities in a tweet post to release a number of civil society activists, which Saudi Arabia considered an interference in its internal affairs.

Saudi Arabia frequently uses capital punishment, which can be issued for crimes like homosexuality or anti-government activities, though crucifixions are rare.

The office of Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland did not respond to requests for comment. The company also has copper mines in Zambia and Chile.

A Canadian departmental spokesperson said Global Affairs Canada continues to seek clarity from the Saudi Arabian government on various issues.

She said: "We believe that Saudi Arabia, which has taken the path of massive social and economic transformations, has a full sovereign right to determine how to move forward in this important area".

Saudi Arabia announced it was suspending future trade with Canada and severing diplomatic ties.

The Canadian dollar weakened to a two-week low against its USA counterpart on Wednesday as oil prices fell and after the FT report.

Since rising to power in 2015, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has courted Western allies by offering to buy billions of dollars worth of arms.

However, Saudi Arabia's Foreign Ministry called Canada's plea a "grave and unacceptable violation of the kingdom's laws and procedures".

Saudi Arabia has also stopped all medical treatment programs in Canada and is working on transferring all Saudi patients there to other countries, state media said Wednesday. The government provides health care services through several government agencies for public employees.

Saudi students in Canadian universities have been given four weeks to pack their bags and leave the country as their scholarships have been suspended.

The dispute looks set to damage what is a modest bilateral trade relationship worth almost $4 billion a year.

Saudi Arabia's main state wheat buying agency, the Saudi Grains Organization, has also told grains exporters it will no longer accept Canadian-origin grains in its global purchase tenders, according to European traders. Saudi Arabia has invested about $6 billion in Canadian businesses since 2006, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

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