By: Agence France-Presse
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman has ordered the reopening of the border with Qatar to facilitate the annual hajj pilgrimage, state media mentioned Thursday, within the first indicators of a thaw after the area’s worst diplomatic disaster in years.
The Salwa border crossing had been shut after regional kingpin Saudi Arabia in addition to Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates severed diplomatic and commerce ties with Qatar on June 5, accusing the emirate of fostering Islamist extremist teams.
The announcement to reopen the border for Qatari pilgrims got here after Saudi Arabia’s highly effective Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman obtained an envoy from Doha, in accordance to the official Saudi Press Agency, within the first public high-level encounter between the nations after the disaster erupted.
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 press release on SPA mentioned.
He additionally ordered that non-public jets belonging to Saudi airways be despatched to Doha airport “to bring all Qatari pilgrims on his expenses”.
The crown prince emphasised the “historical relations between Saudi and Qatari people” after his assembly with Qatari Sheikh Abdullah bin Ali bin Abdullah bin Jassim al-Thani, the assertion added.
Saudi Arabia had final month mentioned that Qataris wanting to carry out this 12 months’s hajj could be allowed to enter the dominion, however imposed sure restrictions together with that these arriving by airplane should use airways in settlement with Riyadh.
Qatari authorities had subsequently accused Saudi Arabia of politicising hajj and jeopardising the pilgrimage to Mecca by refusing to assure their pilgrims’ security.
Some observers cautioned that the diplomatic disaster was removed from over regardless of the obvious bonhomie.
“This is a goodwill gesture towards the Qatari people and not a breakthrough with the Qatari govt,” Ali Shihabi from the Washington-based suppose tank Arabia Foundation mentioned on Twitter, referring to the reopening of the border.
Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies shut down air, maritime and land hyperlinks with Qatar, and imposed financial sanctions, accusing Doha of supporting “terrorists” and of being too shut to their regional nemesis Iran.
Qatar denied the allegations and denounced what it referred to as a “blockade” geared toward bringing the rich emirate to its knees.
The tiny emirate with a inhabitants of 2.6 million, 80 % of them foreigners, ranks because the world’s richest on a per capita foundation, in accordance to the International Monetary Fund.
It holds a staggering $330 billion in a sovereign wealth fund, with property closely invested overseas.
The hajj, a pillar of Islam that succesful Muslims should carry out at the very least as soon as in a lifetime, is to happen this 12 months initially of September.
More than 1.eight million devoted took half in final 12 months’s hajj. The pilgrimage is one of the 5 pillars of Islam and all Muslims who can should carry out it at the very least as soon as of their lives.(AFP)