The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has suspended diplomatic ties and halted new trade and investment dealings with Canada. The move comes following a statement released by the Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the arrest of a women's rights activist.
According to the Saudi Press Agency, SPA, the Kingdom's Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed its "disbelief" by the "negative" and "unfounded" comments made by the Canadian ministry.
"The persons referred to were lawfully detained by the Public Prosecution for committing crimes punishable by applicable law, which also guaranteed the detainees’ rights and provided them with due process during the investigation and trial," the Saudi statement continued.
It went on to say that the ministry affirms that the Canadian statement is considered as "a blatant interference in the Kingdom's domestic affairs," and goes against basic international norms and protocols.
"It is a major, unacceptable affront to the Kingdom’s laws and judicial process, as well as a violation of the Kingdom’s sovereignty. Throughout its long history, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has never accepted any interference in its domestic affairs by, or orders from, any country," the statement added.
SPA went on to quote the ministry's statement as saying that Saudi Arabia views Canada's position as an "affront" to the Kingdom, calling for a "sharp response" to its meddling in Saudi sovereignty.
Canada's use of the terminology "immediate release" was seen as an "unfortunate...reprehensible, and unacceptable use of language between sovereign states," the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs continued.
The ministry reaffirmed the Kingdom's "absolute rejection" of Canada's stance on this particular matter, re-confirming its commitment to "refrain from intervening in the internal matters of other countries, including Canada."
It added that the Kingdom "categorically rejects any intervention in its domestic affairs and internal relations with its citizens. Any further step from the Canadian side in that direction will be considered as acknowledgment of our right to interfere in the Canadian Domestic affairs."
Saudi Arabia recalled its Ambassador in Canada, adding that it considers "the Canadian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia as Persona-Non-Grata," and provided a 24-hour notice for the Ambassador to depart the Kingdom.
"The Kingdom will put on hold all new business and investment transactions with Canada while retaining its right to take further action," the statement concluded.