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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 14 December 2018

Saudi Arabia says it will welcome Qatari pilgrims during Hajj season

Qatar had expressed concerns about obstacles facing its citizens this year

Muslim pilgrims circle the Kaaba at the Grand Mosque, in the Saudi city of Mecca. Ahmad Gharbali / AFP
Muslim pilgrims circle the Kaaba at the Grand Mosque, in the Saudi city of Mecca. Ahmad Gharbali / AFP

Saudi Arabia said on Wednesday it would welcome Qatari pilgrims to Mecca to perform the Hajj this season, amidst a feud that has triggered tensions between the two nations since June.

The Salwa border point would be open for Qatari citizens who wish to perform the annual pilgrimage to pass through with no electronic permissions needed, a statement on the Saudi Press Agency said.

Editorial: Judge Qatar by the tone of its voice

Riyadh along with the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain imposed sanctions on Qatar in June and cut all transport links with the country. The four boycotting Arab states accuse Qatar of supporting terrorism.

The Saudi Press Agency statement said Qataris wishing to perform the Hajj would also be welcome through two of the Kingdom's airports. The announcement came after a meeting between Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Qatari Sheikh Abdullah bin Ali Al Thani.

Qatar accused the Saudis of politicising Hajj and addressed the United Nations Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion last month, expressing concern about obstacles facing Qataris who want to attend Hajj this year.

Read more: Qatar crisis - what you need to know