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Saudi Arabia Ready to Provide 7 Aircraft to Transport Qatari Hajj Pilgrims

22 August 2017

Qatari authorities welcomed Thursday Saudi Arabia's decision to facilitate the Hajj for Qatari nationals after Riyadh opened the frontier and announced sending of jets to Doha global airport to fly out Qatari pilgrims at the Saudi monarch's expenses.

The official Saudi Press Agency reported that Qatari pilgrims will be allowed to enter the kingdom by land and would then be flown onward from two Saudi airports in Dammam and al-Ahsa at the king's expense.

Meanwhile, Qatari royal Shaikh Abdullah Bin Ali Al Thani met King Salman and his son Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, to discuss Hajj pilgrimage last Wednesday, but Qatar's foreign minister has said that the two parties discussed Abdullah's personal properties in the kingdom and not Hajj.

Arriving on a Saudi plane in Morocco, he also held talks with Deputy Manager of Saudi Arabia's Intelligence Organization. However, King Salman announced on 16 August that they would be allowed to travel through Salwa border crossing without electronic permits or by any airline except Qatar Airways.

More than 20,000 Muslims from Qatar have applied for visas for this year's Hajj, but Qatar has only been given a quota of 1,600.

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It marks the first change to a months-long blockade imposed on Qatar by Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.

He said the meetings were mainly focused on facilitating the travel of Qatari pilgrims to Saudi Arabia to perform their annual Hajj rituals.

Hajj of those pilgrims became uncertain as the Saudi authorities were "dilly-dallying" over giving permission to operate additional flights and extending deadline for carrying pilgrims, sources at the Hajj Camp in capital's Ashkona said. Qatar denies the allegation and says the charges are politically motivated. "This is hate speech and its not safe for Qatari citizens to go to Hajj this year", he said. The quartet also halted direct flights, expelled Qatari residents and the three Gulf countries ordered their citizens in Qatar to leave.

"Over 27, 000 intending pilgrims have so far been transported to the Holy land", he said.

Saudi Arabia Ready to Provide 7 Aircraft to Transport Qatari Hajj Pilgrims