RIYADH – Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, relaxing tension occurred due to diplomatic crisis, has issued directions to reopen the border with Qatar to facilitate the annual hajj pilgrimage, state media reported Thursday.
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The Salwa border, between the two countries, had been sealed after Saudi Arabia and allies Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) cut ties with Qatar on June 5 at diplomatic and trade level, accusing it of supporting extremism.
According to Saudi Press Agency, an ambassador of Qatar, Sheikh Abdullah bin Ali bin Abdullah bin Jassim al-Thani, met to Crown prince Mohmmed Bin Salman after which the announcement regarding border opening was made.
The king has permitted “the entry of Qatari pilgrims to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia through Salwa border crossing to perform hajj, and to allow all Qatari nationals who wish to enter for hajj without electronic permits”, a statement on SPA said.
Emphasising “historical relations between Saudi and Qatari people,” the king also ordered to send private jets belonging to Saudi airlines to Doha airport in order “to bring all Qatari pilgrims on his expenses”.
Last month, Saudi Arabia allowed Qataris to perform hajj this year but imposed some restrictions, including the use of prescribed airlines.
Later, Qatari authorities accused Saudi Arabia of politicising hajj and jeopardising the pilgrimage to Mecca by denying guarantee regarding safety of their pilgrims.