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Saudi Arabia denies banning Qataris from Hajj

The Address | Benghazi – Libya

RAYADH – (Reuters): An official in Saudi Hajj Ministry denied that the Riyadh authorities prevented Qatari nationals from traveling to the kingdom to perform Hajj (pilgrimage) after being accused by a Qatari government institution.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Riyadh “refuses in any way to politicize pilgrimage or to engage political differences in the pilgrimage,” according to statements quoted by Reuters on Saturday.

The official added that a group of Qataris arrived to perform pilgrimage, which will continue from Sunday to August 24, but did not specify the number or whether they came directly from Qatar, noting that 1624 Qatar performed the rituals of pilgrimage last year.

The Director of the Legal Department of National Committee for Human Rights in Qatar, Abdullah al-Kaabi, said that Saudi Arabia had closed an electronic system used by travel agencies to obtain permits for the pilgrims of Qatar.

“Qataris Citizens have no chance this year to travel to perform Hajj,” he told Reuters. “The closure of pilgrims’ registration from Qatar continues and citizens can not obtain visas because there are no diplomatic missions.”

On the other hand, a Saudi official blamed Qatar for the Hajj statements, saying Doha had blocked a number of registration links for its pilgrims.

In June 2017, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain cut off diplomatic ties with Qatar, accusing it of financing terrorism, which is denied by Doha.

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