Gulf Crisis: Qatari citizens allowed to perform Umrah despite blockade

Qatari citizens and expats in the tiny Gulf country have been allowed to perform Umrah in Saudi Arabia amid year-long diplomatic row opposing the gas-rich country and its neighbors namely Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Bahrain plus Egypt.

The Saudi Hajj and Umrah ministry in a statement relayed by state-run news agency Saudi Press Agency (SPA) has cleared the way for Qatari citizens to perform the religious ritual.

“Based on the negative attitude and intransigence of the Qatari authorities to enable citizens and residents of Qatar to perform Hajj and Umrah rituals, the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah welcomes the Qatari people to perform Umrah rituals following a completion of registering their legal information upon arrival at King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah,” the ministry said.

Expats in Qatar will go through the same process.

The ministry also indicated that those wishing to travel to the kingdom for the religious purpose can use any airline save Qatar airways banned from the Saudi air space.

Qatar has been facing a year-old sea, ground and air blockade imposed since June last year by the quartet over Doha’s alleged support for terrorism. Qatari authorities have rushed off the charges.

This is the second time this year that Saudi authorities have allowed Qatari citizens to land on Saudi soil.

A low key Qatari delegation was allowed to attend the Arab League summit in the kingdom.

The diplomatic feud seems far from an end after Doha last week banned food commodities imported from the boycotting countries.

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