Saudi Arabia reassures Canada over oil supplies despite continuing controversy
Saudi Arabia's supply of oil to Canada will not be affected by the row between the two countries, Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said on Thursday, to reassure customers after Riyadh froze new trade with Canada and ruled out mediation efforts.
"The oil policy of the government of Saudi Arabia requires not to expose the oil supplies provided by the Kingdom to the countries of the world for any political considerations," Al-Falih said in a statement, stressing that this policy is stable and not affected by any political circumstances.
"The crisis in Saudi-Canadian relations will not, in any way, affect Saudi Aramco's relations with its customers in Canada," Faleh said.
Saudi Arabia froze trade and new investments with Canada and expelled the Canadian ambassador after Ottawa urged Riyadh to immediately release rights activists.
The trade relations between the two countries amount to about four billion dollars annually. Canadian exports to Saudi Arabia totaled about 1.12 billion dollars in 2017, or 0.2 percent of Canada's total exports.
Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir ruled out any mediation efforts and said at a news conference in Riyadh: "What (in) there is no need for mediation. Canada made a big mistake and Canada has to correct this mistake, and Canada is fully aware of what is required of it in this regard. "
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appeared to be presenting the olive branch, saying the kingdom had made some progress in human rights.
"The diplomatic talks will continue," Trudeau said. "We do not want to have bad relations with Saudi Arabia. It is a country of great importance in the world and making progress in the field of human rights. "
In recent months, Saudi Arabia has detained a number of women's rights activists, some of whom have previously campaigned for women's right to drive and end men's rule in the kingdom, the latest government crackdown on activists, clerics and journalists.
Since stepping into the decision-making circles in 2015, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman sought to win over Western allies to support his reform plans, offer multi-billion dollar arms deals and vow to fight extremism in the kingdom.
Prince Mohammed launched a campaign of social and economic change, but did not ease the absolute ban on political activity. He took a tougher stance on Iran and began a three-year war in Yemen and led the province of Qatar.
In addition to freezing trade, the kingdom has also halted education and treatment programs in Canada and plans to relocate tens of thousands of Saudi students and patients to other countries.