Saudi rules out mediation in Canada row, mulls new measures

A farmer holds freshly harvested KWS Kerrin winter wheat grain in a storage shed at a farm in Royston U.K. on Tuesday

The equities selloff comes after Canada's Global Affairs Ministry expressed concern about the arrest and detention of a female blogger and activist in Saudi Arabia, prompting the kingdom to respond forcefully.

Saudi Arabia on Sunday froze new trade with Canada and expelled the Canadian ambassador in retaliation for Ottawa's call to free arrested Saudi civil society activists.

Diplomatic channels and trade negotiations were suspended last week, and some flights from Saudi Arabia to Canada halted.

Saudi Arabia is now coordinating for the transfer of all Saudi patients from Canadian hospitals to other facilities outside of the country, according to a report from the Saudi Press Agency.

Since then, the Saudi kingdom has pursued a scorched-earth policy towards anything related to Canada.

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

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The Saudi government on Wednesday ordered some 16,000 Saudi students in Canada to pack their stuff and made arrangements for their relocation, whether they received government funding or not.

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.

European traders said Saudi Arabia's main state wheat buying agency, the Saudi Grains Organization (SAGO), has told grains exporters it will no longer accept Canadian-origin grains in its global purchase tenders. Riyadh accused Ottawa on Tuesday of interfering in its internal affairs.

Saudi Arabia, one the world's top executioners, beheaded 48 people in the first four months of 2018, according to Human Rights Watch - but crucifixions are rare.

Saudi Arabia's central bank has instructed its fund managers to sell off their Canadian holdings, three people familiar with the matter said, the latest move in a widening diplomatic row that has also hit trade between the two countries as well as Saudi students studying overseas. Saudi students studying in Canada now have the opportunity to transfer to 18 different countries to continue their studies "without being affected", Saudi Arabia's Deputy Minister of Education for Scholarship, General Supervisor of Cultural Attachés Jasser Al-Harbash told Al Arabiya English on Tuesday.

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