Saudi Arabia won’t cut oil supplies to Canada despite row

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Riyadh, Aug 9 (IANS) Saudi Arabia announced on Thursday that its oil supply to Canada will not be affected despite an escalating diplomatic rift between the two countries.

Saudi Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources, Khalid Al-Falih, said that the current crisis will not, in any way, impact the state-owned Armco oil company’s relations with its customers in Canada, Saudi Press Agency reported.

The minister said that oil supplies will not be subjected to political considerations.

Khalid Al-Falih stressed that the Kingdom continued to invest in its production capacity, considered a key factor in protecting from market volatility that is damaging to the interests of producers and consumers alike and the global economy at large.

Saudi-Canadian ties deteriorated earlier this week over statements made by Canadian Foreign Minister and Canadian Embassy in Riyadh demanding the release of Saudi civil society and women’s rights activists.

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The jailed activists included Saudi-American human rights campaigner Samar Badawi, sister of jailed blogger Raif Badawi.

Saudi Arabia considered the Canadian announcements as an “interference” in its affairs and took various measures, mainly cutting the diplomatic ties and freezing new investments between the two countries.

The Middle Eastern nation on Wednesday announced halting of all medical treatment programmes for Saudi citizens in Canada and was coordinating their transfer to medical facilities outside of the country.

Before that, it decided to suspend all training and scholarship programmes in Canada by the end of the Islamic calendar year in September. Also, Saudi Arabia’s state airline suspended its direct flights to Toronto.

Canada responded to the action by saying it “will continue to advocate for human rights”.

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–IANS

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