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Saudi Arabia’s King orders Qatar border to reopen for Hajj pilgrims

Crown prince emphasised the historical relations between Saudi and Qatari people, and between the Saudi leadership and the royal family in Qatar.

 

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JEDDAH/ AMN

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman has ordered that the border with Qatar be reopened to allow pilgrims to carry out their annual hajj pilgrimage to MAKKAH.

Official state media said today the decision represents the first step forward since a diplomatic crisis began when Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates severed diplomatic and trade ties with Qatar on June 5.

According to a statement from the Saudi News Agency the border decision came after the kingdom’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman received an envoy from Doha. It said the king has ordered that Qatari pilgrims be allowed to enter Saudi Arabia through the border crossing to do the pilgrimage. He even ordered that private jets belonging to Saudi airlines be sent to Doha airport to bring all Qatari pilgrims on his expenses.

The crown prince emphasised the historical relations between Saudi and Qatari people, and between the Saudi leadership and the royal family in Qatar.

The King has also ordered that a private aircraft belonging to the Saudi Arabian Airlines be dispatched to Doha Airport to fly all Qatari pilgrims to Jeddah.

SPA said the plan was submitted to the King by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who earlier met with Qatari Sheikh Abdullah bin Ali bin Abdullah bin Jassem Al Thani at the Peace Palace in Jeddah.
“During the meeting, Sheikh Abdullah bin Ali stressed that the relations between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Qatar are brotherly relations rooted in history. The sheikh extended his mediation to open the Salwa border crossing for the entry of Qatari pilgrims to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s territories,” the SPA said.
Also allowed to pass through the border crossing are all Qatari nationals who wish to enter Saudi Arabia for Hajj without electronic permits.

The king also directed that all Qatari pilgrims be transported from King Fahad International Airport in Dammam and Al-Ahsa International Airport as his guests. All expenses are to be paid for by the King, under the Program of the Guests of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud for Hajj and Umrah.
The Salwa crossing, Qatar’s only land border outlet, was closed in June when Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt declared a boycott of Qatar.

The four Arab states, collectively called the Anti-Terror Quartet (ATQ), have accused Doha of hosting or supporting terrorist organizations and individuals, as well as maintaining close ties with Iran, which the ATQ have accused of trying to destabilize the region by fomenting sectarian strife.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s meeting with Sheikh Abdullah bin Ali’s was the first with a Qatari leader since the dispute came to a head.

In a statement carried by SPA, the Crown Prince thanked Sheikh Abdullah bin Ali “for his brotherly feelings” as he stressed “the depth of historical relations” between Saudis and Qataris
Saudi Arabia and Qatar are both members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), along with Bahrain, the UAE, Kuwait and Oman.

Saudi officials had earlier said Qatari pilgrims are welcome to come to the Kingdom to perform Hajj in Makkah despite the ongoing dispute.

The Hajj, a pillar of Islam that capable Muslims must perform at least once in a lifetime, is to take place this year at the end of August.

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Govt to bring back Indians stuck in Saudi Arabia: Sushma tells Rajya Sabha

Our Correspondent

sushmaExternal Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj today assured the Rajya Sabha that the government will make all arrangements to bring back Indian workers currently stuck in Saudi Arabia.

She told the members that the Indian Mission in Riyadh has arranged free ration to the workers. The Minister said, her colleague V K Singh will travel to Saudi Arabia. She said, the government will also take steps to ensure that the Indian workers will get their salaries.

The issue was raised during the Zero Hour by Anwar Ali Ansari (JD-U), Naresh Agarwal of the Samajwadi Party and Rajiv Shukla of the Congress. Deputy Chairman P J Kurien said, the minister is doing a commendable job.