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Freeland took some criticism for using Twitter to push Canada's foreign policy positions, but Trudeau defended the tactic, saying Canada would continue to use all the communications tools available to make its case.

Saudi Arabia's decision to halt new investments and unload assets in Canada is likely to have limited impact, even as the kingdom's foreign minister threatens more action.

Canada has been disappointed that Western powers including the United States - a key ally of Saudi Arabia - did not publicly support Ottawa.

Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland is joined by High Representative for the European Union's Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini prior to a reception at the Royal Ontario Museum on the first day of meetings for foreign ministers from G7 countries in Toronto, Ontario, Canada April 22, 2018.

Germany and Sweden previously were targets of Saudi backlashes for calling out the kingdom over human rights abuses.

Canada's public call for the kingdom to "immediately release" jailed human rights activists angered Saudi Arabia and the kingdom took punitive action, including canceling all flights to and from Toronto, beginning August 13.

"The deteriorating relationship that we see with our nation and Saudi Arabia is a trend that is bothersome" Moe said.

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Since May, the kingdom has also led an "unprecedented government crackdown" on activists, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW).

The EU has been seeking clarifications from Saudi authorities on the circumstances around the arrests of women human rights defenders in Saudi Arabia since the first arrests in May, Kocinjancic told reporters.

The 140-character limit, or 280 in some cases, is not enough to allow for the level of nuance that is required in diplomatic relations and tweets may not be subjected to the same rigorous review process, including sign off by the ambassador, that an official statement would be, he said. "Canada made a big mistake. and a mistake should be corrected".

Saudi Arabia plans to pull out thousands of students and medical patients from Canada over the spat.

Statistics presented to the Foreign Affairs Department show that in 2016, there were about 15,000 Saudi Arabian students studying in either short-term or long-term Canadian academic programs, representing about three per cent of all foreign students in Canada.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau backed Freeland.