Picture courtesy: CIC Saudi Arabia on Twitter
Saudi Arabia has rejected allegations that it is obstructing Qataris and expatriates in Qatar from visiting Makkah and Madinah to perform Hajj and Umrah.
The ministry of Hajj and Umrah stressed that the claims by the Qatari ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs were “untrue”, the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.
The ministry said it has launched several electronic links to enable Qataris and residents of Qatar to book their places of residence, contract services, and come through non-Qatari airlines to perform Hajj or Umrah.
“In return the Qatari government blocked these links for Qataris and Muslim citizens residing in Qatar,” the ministry said.
The ministry said it invited the officials responsible for Hajj affairs in Qatar to come to the kingdom to arrange the arrival of the Qatari pilgrims, and a meeting with them was also held earlier this year.
“The meeting discussed all matters related to the organisation of the arrival of pilgrims and residents from Qatar to perform Hajj, but the Qatari delegation left without signing the Hajj agreement, and therefore the Qatari authorities did not give the opportunity to the Qatari Hajj companies to provide Hajj services in the kingdom,” the SPA report said.
The ministry also stressed the kingdom’s “total rejection of any attempt to politicise the Hajj”.
Saudi Arabia, along with UAE, Bahrain and Egypt have cut all transport, diplomatic and trade links with Qatar since June 2017. However, the kingdom has allowed Qataris and Qatari residents to perform Hajj and Umrah.
Saudi’s Hajj ministry called upon the concerned authorities in Qatar to “remove the obstacles” imposed by the government and affirmed that it will welcome Qataris to come to the kingdom to perform Hajj and Umrah.
The kingdom expects to welcome more than 1.7 million pilgrims to perform Hajj this year, the report said.