Saudi says Qatar blocks planes from transporting pilgrims

Qatar Worried about Safety of Citizens in Saudi Arabia

Riyadh last week reopened its land border with Qatar and allocated seven flights of the Saudi national carrier to bring pilgrims from Doha, in a temporary lifting of a weeks-long boycott of its Gulf neighbour.

Saudi Airlines had asked Qatari authorities for permission for their trips to transport Qatari pilgrims, which were scheduled after the directives of King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.

Qatar's human rights committee had previously filed a complaint with the United Nations special rapporteur on freedom of belief and religion over restrictions placed on its nationals who wanted to attend the hajj this year.

Last week, Qatar welcomed the Saudi decision to open the frontier and provide flights for Qatari pilgrims but also said it regarded the move as politically motivated.

Saudi Arabia and three other Arab countries cut diplomatic and transport links with Qatar and barred its planes from their airspace in early June, accusing it of backing extremists.

Sending all pilgrims to Saudi Arabia became very much uncertain due to frequent cancellations of hajj flights of Biman due to shortage of pilgrims.

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The directives were given after the mediation of Sheikh Abdullah bin Ali Al Thani.

"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". Qatar rejects those claims.

Marri told Middle East Eye in early August that the claims amounted to "hate speech" and were making an already hard situation for the Hajj pilgrims from Qatar worse.

However, the scenario of secret talks between Qatari and Saudi officials continued with new reports saying King Salman has held secret talks with a top military commander in Morocco. What do you think the reaction of ordinary Saudis will be when they hear this? Tambuwal said the 2017 Hajj was the best outing in the history of hajj commission in the last 10 years. Additionally, the Saudi Arabian government imposed new fees on returning pilgrims, which tour operators say they were not advised about.

At least 993 pilgrims did not submit their passports to the Saudi Arabian embassy in Dhaka to get Hajj visa while the passport submission deadline expired at 12 noon On Monday.

This year, around 80,000 Egyptian pilgrims will perform the hajj, which is one of the five pillars of Islam.

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