Eli Ridder | Report
Saudi Arabia said that it stopped all medical treatments of nationals in Canada on Wednesday, as part of increasing tensions after Ottawa pushed for the kingdom to free social rights activists last week.
Riyadh recalled its ambassador, kicked the Canadian envoy out and froze all new trade with Canada on Aug. 5, in response to a statement by Global Affairs Canada last week calling for the Middle Eastern power to free the activists.
Saudi state news agency SPA said Riyadh had stopped sending patients to Canadian hospitals and “is coordinating for the transfer of all Saudi patients from Canadian hospitals … according to directives by the leadership,” reported Reuters news agency.
It is not yet clear how many Saudi patients are in Canadian hospitals, but transfers are underway, says Riyadh. The kingdom covers healthcare for public employees.
This comes after Saudi Arabia suspended educational exchange scholarships with Canadian schools and the kingdom’s state airline halted flights to Toronto.
Reports say that Canada has reached out to work with the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates to find a solution and ease the tensions.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected to hold a press conference on Wednesday afternoon to address the diplomatic conflict.