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Saudi Arabia on Wednesday ruled out any mediation in an escalating diplomatic row with Canada, adding that the kingdom was considering further punitive measures against Ottawa.

Canada sparked fury in Riyadh last week when it called for the "immediate release" of rights campaigners, including award-winning women's rights activist Samar Badawi, the sister of jailed blogger Raif Badawi.

And, a tweet from Saudi Arabia's state airline said all flights from and to Toronto would be suspended starting from August 13th.

"We are always going to speak up for human rights, we are always going to speak up for women's rights and that is not going to change", Freeland said Monday.

Other sanctions include Saudi patients in Canada having their treatments stopped and being relocated to a medical facility outside the country.

"Therefore, Canada must correct its actions towards the kingdom".

According to a report in the Financial Times, Saudi Arabia has started selling Canadian assets en masse, including stocks and bonds. Riyadh accused Ottawa on Tuesday of interfering in its internal affairs. Canada imported 71,300 barrels of crude a day from Saudi Arabia as of 2014, accounting for about 11 percent of the country's imports, according to Natural Resources Canada. The Saudi government on Sunday recalled its ambassador to Ottawa, barred Canada's envoy from returning and placed a ban on new trade, denouncing Canada for statements about people detained on criminal charges.

The currency dropped as much as 0.5 per cent to $1.3120 per USA dollar after the Financial Times reported that the Saudi Arabia central bank and state pension funds have instructed their overseas asset managers to dispose of Canadian assets starting Tuesday.

Since rising to power in 2015, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has courted Western allies to support his reform plans, offering billions of dollars of arms sales and promising to fight radicalism in the kingdom.

It remains unclear how many Saudi patients will be affected by the decision.

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected to hold a news conference in Montreal, where he will be pressed on the diplomatic crisis.


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