Saudi Arabia Orders Transfer of Medical Patients Out of Canada

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The U.S. State Department has urged Canada and Saudi Arabia to resolve their escalating feud.

New trade has been frozen between the two countries, casting a shadow of uncertainty over the 2014 deal that sends light armoured vehicles to Saudi security forces.

Riyadh has also frozen student exchange programs and ordered about 15,000 Saudi students in Canadian schools and colleges to leave the country. Saudi state airline Saudi said it was suspending flights to and from Toronto.

The dispute began after a tweet by the Canadian foreign ministry on Friday, in which it expressed "concerns" over the arrests of civil and women's rights activists in the Kingdom and called for their immediate release.

Russian Federation voiced support for Saudi Arabia in its worsening row with Canada, telling Ottawa it was unacceptable to lecture the kingdom on human rights.

Days after Saudi Arabia expelled Canada's ambassador, the country has made a decision to freeze new trade deals and force Saudi students studying in Canada to leave. On Tuesday, Minister of Education Dr. Ahmed Al-Eissa assured Saudi scholarship students in Canada that the Kingdom has worked to provide all facilities for an easy transfer to universities in other countries.

The Canadian government has not responded in kind.

Adel al-Jubeir, Saudi foreign minister, said on Wednesday that there would be no new Saudi investment in Canada until the crisis was resolved.

Inflows slowed in recent years mainly due to low oil prices, but regional turmoil doesn't help, critics of the government say.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia's main state wheat-buying agency, Saudi Grains Organization (SAGO), issued a notice to exporters that it will no longer buy Canadian wheat and barley.

The Canadian dollar plunged on the report, before traders realized the limited scope of the moves.

Saudi Arabia's main state wheat buying agency told grains exporters it will no longer accept Canadian-origin grains in global tenders, European traders said.