Saudi Arabia to allow Qatari pilgrims despite diplomatic row
Riyadh, July 25 (IANS) Saudi Arabia will allow pilgrims from Qatar to visit the kingdom to perform Umrah or Hajj this year, despite a diplomatic row, media reports said.
The only restriction on the Qatari pilgrims is they should travel to the kingdom aboard all flights other than Qatar Airways, Qatar’s national carrier, Xinhua news agency reported.
The Saudi General Authority of Civil Aviation quoted a statement by the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah as saying that Riyadh welcomes Qataris who wish to perform Umrah or Hajj this year, if they have permits from the ministry and from the relevant department in Qatar.
Qatari pilgrims can travel to the kingdom via any airlines except Qatar Airways and through any flight routes to the kingdom except through Doha, the Al Arabiya TV quoted the ministry as saying.
They should enter the kingdom through King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah or through Prince Mohammad bin Abdulaziz International Airport in Medina, it added.
Hajj is an annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, the most holy city for Muslims. This year’s Hajj will begin in the evening of August 30 and end in the evening of September 4.
Umrah is an Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca that Muslims can perform at any time of the year.
Saudi Arabia has led an Arab quartet which cut diplomatic ties with Qatar and imposed blockade on this rich Gulf nation since June 5, accusing Doha of supporting terrorism and interfering in their internal affairs.