Saudi king orders Qatar border be reopened for hajj pilgrims

Saudi king orders Qatar border be reopened for hajj pilgrims

Despite the ongoing diplomatic and political rift with Qatar, Saudi Arabia has made a decision to allow its nationals to enter the Kindgom for the holy pilgrimage to Hajj.

The meeting in Jiddah was the first by a Qatari to Saudi Arabia since a tense political standoff erupted 10 weeks ago when the kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt severed ties with Qatar.

The report further said the decision came after a meeting between Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman and Qatari royal family member Sheikh Abdullah bin Ali Al Thani.

The Saudi crown prince said the country would open the Salwa border crossing to Qatari citizens who wanted to perform the hajj, without requiring them to obtain electronic permits.

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He ordered that private jets belonging to Saudi airlines be sent to Doha airport "to bring all Qatari pilgrims on his expenses".

Committee head Ali bin Smeikh al-Marri called on the Saudi authorities to "facilitate Hajj procedures and remove restrictions" facing Qatari pilgrims.

"The government of Qatar welcomes the decision and will respond positively", HE the Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani told a press conference in Stockholm.

Saudi state media broke the news overnight. Saudi Arabia closed its land border and the other nations cut air and sea links. Saudi Arabia sealed Qatar's only land border.

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"What matters to us is the bottom line, which is that our citizens now have a way to attend the hajj, and we uphold our demand that hajj be spared politicisation and remain separate from our political issues", he said.

TOPSHOTS Muslim pilgrims perform the final walk (Tawaf al-Wadaa) around the Kaaba at the Grand Mosque in the Saudi holy city of Mecca on November 30, 2009. They accused Qatar of destabilizing the region by supporting "terrorists, extremist and sectarian organizations". The pilgrims would also be welcome through Saudi Arabia's airports, it added.

Qatar has denied the accusation.

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