“Nothing to mediate,” in dispute with Canada, says Saudi foreign minister

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OTTAWA — Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister says there is nothing to mediate when it comes to the diplomatic dispute between Canada and his kingdom, which is  stepping up retaliation including selling Saudi-owned Canadian assets.

During a news conference in Riyadh today, Adel al-Jubeir says Canada made a mistake when Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland took to Twitter to criticize the Saudis for arrests of social activists.

Al-Jubeir says Saudi Arabia has given Canada information it needs to correct its mistake and that the ball is now in Canada’s court.

In the meantime, Saudi Arabia has ordered central banks and state-owned pension funds to sell of all Canadian assets and is arranging for all Saudi patients in Canadian hospitals to be transferred out of the country.

Saudi Arabia suspended diplomatic ties on Sunday, expelled the Canadian ambassador and halted new trading; it is also pulling thousands of Saudi students from Canadian schools and cancelling the direct flight between Toronto and Saudi Arabia.

Earlier this week, Freeland said there is nothing new about Canada’s position on human rights and that Ottawa is awaiting more details from the Saudi government before responding further.

The Canadian Press