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Saudia Airlines Suspends Toronto Flights Amid Diplomatic Feud

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Saudia Airlines Suspends Toronto Flights Amid Diplomatic Feud

Saudia Airlines Suspends Toronto Flights Amid Diplomatic Feud
August 07
08:29 2018

MIAMI — Saudi Arabia has halted all diplomatic relations with Canada. The Arab country has expelled the Canadian ambassador from its land and suspended the Saudia Airlines nonstop flights between Jeddah (JED) and Toronto (YYZ) starting from August 13.

The feud originates following Canada’s demands for the release of imprisoned activists for women’s rights, among which Samar Badawi, sister of an incarcerated blogger Raif Badawi, features in the list.

The United Nations Office for Human Rights confirmed that at least 15 women’s rights activists and human right defenders were arrested by the Saudi government on May 15.

The Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister, Chrystia Freeland, said that her country will continue to advocate for human rights, “including women’s rights and freedom of expression around the world.”

However, the Saudi government reacted firmly, asserting that the detained activists were legally prosecuted and that Canada’s observations denoted a “blatant interference in the kingdom’s domestic affairs.”

Saudi has “put on hold all new business and investment transactions with Canada while retaining its right to take further action”, said the Saudi foreign ministry in a public statement.

A verified Saudi Twitter account shared a disturbing image of an Air Canada airplane flying straight into Toronto’s CN Tower, including an Arabic saying that translates, “he who with what doesn’t concern him finds what doesn’t please him”.

The disturbing Tweet, which brought back September 11 remembrances, was deleted a few hours after it was posted.

Saudia Airlines announced the suspension of its four weekly flights between JED and YYZ, operated with the airline’s newest Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners, which launched on May 3, 2017.

Saudia’s Toronto service had been operating since October 2013, initially serviced by the airline’s Boeing 777-300ERs.

The Arab carrier became the fourth Gulf airline operating flights to Canada after Emirates, Etihad Airways, and Qatar Airways.

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