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Saudi rules out mediation in Canada row, mulls new measures

AFP  |  Riyadh 

today ruled out any mediation in an escalating diplomatic row with Canada, adding that the kingdom was considering further punitive measures against

"There is nothing to mediate," told reporters.

"made a big mistake... and a mistake should be corrected." Jubeir added that was "considering additional measures" against Canada, without elaborating.

on Monday expelled Canada's and recalled its own envoy, freezing all new trade and investments, after denounced a new crackdown on rights activists in the kingdom.

also said it will relocate thousands of Saudi students studying in to other countries, while (also known as Saudi Arabian Airlines) announced it was suspending flights to

Saudi Arabia has also stopped all medical treatment programs in and is working on transferring all Saudi patients there to other countries, said today.

Further straining ties, the Saudi central has instructed its overseas asset managers to dispose of their Canadian equities, bonds and cash holdings "no matter the cost", reported today.

Canada sparked fury in last week when it called for the "immediate release" of rights campaigners, including award-winning women's rights activist Samar Badawi, the sister of jailed blogger

was arrested along with last week, the latest targets of what called an "unprecedented government crackdown" on women activists.

It came after more than a dozen women's rights campaigners were detained and accused of undermining national security and collaborating with enemies of the state. When asked about the jailed activists, Jubeir reiterated the government's earlier stance that they had been in contact with foreign entities, but did not specify the charges against them.

"The matter is not about human rights, it is a matter of national security," Jubeir said, referring to the row with Canada.

"Saudi Arabia does not interfere in the affairs of Canada in any way. Therefore, Canada must correct its actions towards the kingdom."

Canada has indicated it will not back down, despite the risk of imperilling business deals including a USD 15 billion agreement to sell light armoured vehicles.

If the deal is scrapped, thousands of jobs could be lost in Canada, experts say.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, August 08 2018. 22:15 IST