Saudi Arabia pulls its medical patients from Canadian hospitals


Saudi Arabia mentioned on Wednesday it had stopped all medical remedy applications in Canada and was engaged on the switch of all Saudi patients from hospitals there, in an escalating row after Ottawa urged it to free rights activists.

Saudi Arabia froze new commerce and funding with Canada and expelled the Canadian ambassador this week, pushing Canada to hunt assist from the United Arab Emirates and Britain to attempt to defuse the dispute.

Since rising to energy in 2015, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has courted Western allies to assist his reform plans, providing billions of {dollars} of arms gross sales and promising to battle radicalism within the kingdom. Tons of of billions of {dollars} of investments have been mentioned throughout his journeys to the US and Europe.

The dispute with Canada has make clear scores of political and rights activists arrested in Saudi Arabia over the past two years.

State information company SPA mentioned Riyadh had stopped sending patients to Canadian hospitals and “is coordinating for the switch of all Saudi patients from Canadian hospitals … based on directives by the management.”

It was unclear what number of Saudi patients can be affected by the choice and what number of have been lined by the dominion’s well being care system. The federal government gives well being care companies via a number of authorities companies for public staff.

The transfer follows a sequence of measures the dominion has taken because the row erupted on Monday.

Scholarships suspended, grain exports halted

The dominion has suspended instructional alternate applications with Canada and moved Saudi scholarship recipients to different international locations, whereas Saudi state airline Saudia mentioned it was suspending flights to and from Toronto.

Saudi Arabia’s predominant state wheat shopping for company, the Saudi Grains Group (SAGO), has instructed grains exporters it is going to now not settle for Canadian-origin grains in its worldwide buy tenders, European merchants mentioned.

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is predicted to carry a information convention in Montreal on Wednesday afternoon, the place he can be pressed on the diplomatic disaster. CBC Information will carry his media availability dwell.

Canada is planning to hunt assist from Saudi Arabia’s closest ally, the UAE, and Britain to defuse the dispute which seems to be set to break what’s a modest bilateral commerce relationship price practically $four billion a yr. Canadian exports to Saudi Arabia totalled about $1.12 billion in 2017, or 0.2 p.c of the entire worth of Canadian exports.

Nevertheless, the row threatens to undermine Riyadh’s drive to draw overseas buyers, an effort hit by a sequence of sweeping coverage initiatives by the highest oil exporter’s absolute rulers.

Inside Saudi Arabia, the measures have been supported by a media marketing campaign criticizing Canada’s human rights document and praising the Saudi rulers’ firmness in “defending the dominion’s sovereignty.”

Crown Prince Mohammed has launched a marketing campaign of social and financial change, however has not eased absolutely the monarchy’s complete ban on political activism.

Canada expressed concern over the arrests of activists in Saudi Arabia, together with ladies’s rights campaigner Samar Badawi, and referred to as for his or her launch. Riyadh mentioned that amounted to “a blatant interference within the kingdom’s home affairs.”



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