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A diplomatic spat between Canada and Saudi Arabia shows no sign of abating after Riyadh ordered thousands of Saudi students in Canada to leave the country. Saudi holdings of Canadian dollar reserves are between $10 billion and $25 billion, with the upper end of that estimate representing 10 per cent of daily Canadian dollar volumes, according to estimates from the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce.

"We have always had a positive and constructive relationship with countries around the world while at the same time always making sure we're bringing up human rights concerns, because Canadians expect that, and indeed people around the world expect that leadership from Canada", Trudeau said.

His comments come amid an ongoing diplomatic and economic dispute with the Middle Eastern nation, including the Saudi foreign minister saying earlier Wednesday that Canada needs to take back its critique of the country's arrest of human rights activists.

"Canada made a mistake and they know what they need to do to correct it", Mr Jubeir said.

Saudi Arabia is now coordinating for the transfer of all Saudi patients from Canadian hospitals to other facilities outside of the country, according to a report from the Saudi Press Agency.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia's main state wheat-buying agency, Saudi Grains Organization (SAGO), issued a notice to exporters that it will no longer buy Canadian wheat and barley.

"The matter is not about human rights; it is a matter of national security", the minister said.

Some university professors expressed regret over the decision, but said they still supported Canadian government's position.

Additionally, on Monday it was announced that "training, scholarships and fellowships" for Saudi students in Canada are now being shelved. The selloff began on Tuesday, the Financial Times reported, and involved about $100 billion in Saudi funds. Samar Badawi and Sadah were arrested last week in what global human rights groups called a crackdown on dissent in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia's airline suspended flights to and from Canada, potentially complicating travel plans for Canada's Muslim population as the annual Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca approaches later in August.


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