Saudi Arabia to stop issuing visas to Swedish citizens as row over rights criticism widens

A senior Saudi official tells The Associated Press that the kingdom will no longer issue business visas to Swedes or renew the current visas of Swedish nationals living in the country.

The official said the move is in response to Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom's recent criticism of human rights and women's rights in Saudi Arabia. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information.

Wallstrom has refused to back down from her comments, and Sweden's new left-wing government failed to renew a 10-year-old weapons deal with the Saudis.

Saudi Arabia and its regional ally the United Arab Emirates have since recalled their ambassadors from Stockholm. Saudi Arabia says it considers Wallstrom's remarks as "blatant interference it its internal affairs."