Riyadh to transfer all Saudi patients in Canada out of the country

  • Saudi Arabia has stopped all medical treatment programs in Canada and is coordinating for the transfer of all Saudi patients to hospitals outside Canada.
  • This comes as Saudi Arabia froze new trade and investment with Canada and expelled the Canadian ambassador, early on Monday, in a gesture of retaliation after Ottawa urged Riyadh to free arrested civil society activists.
Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (front) at a meeting in Mecca, Saudi Arabia on June 11, 2018. 
Bandar Algaloud | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (front) at a meeting in Mecca, Saudi Arabia on June 11, 2018. 

Saudi Arabia has stopped all medical treatment programs in Canada and is coordinating for the transfer of all Saudi patients from Canadian hospitals to hospitals outside the North American country, the Saudi Press Agency said early on Wednesday.

The agency cited Saudi Health Attaché in the United States of America and Canada, Dr. Fahd bin Ibrahim Al Tamimi.

Saudi Arabia froze new trade and investment with Canada and expelled the Canadian ambassador early on Monday, in a stern gesture of retaliation after Ottawa urged it to free arrested civil society activists.

In her first public response to Saudi Arabia's actions, Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said, "Canada will always stand up for human rights in Canada and around the world, and women's rights are human rights."

Riyadh, on Sunday, recalled its ambassador from Canada and gave the Canadian ambassador 24 hours to leave. The Saudi government also banned new trade with Canada, although it was unclear if it would affect existing annual Saudi-Canadian trade of nearly $4 billion and a $13 billion defense contract.