Arabic and International Thursday, 17 August 2017
Saudi King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz ordered the entry of Qatari pilgrims to Saudi Arabia via the land port to perform the pilgrimage, in a move that is not yet known whether it is a gesture of goodwill or a breakthrough in the Gulf crisis.
The official SPA news agency said the decision was made after Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman received a Qatari mediator at the first such meeting since relations between the two countries were cut off.
On June 5, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut diplomatic ties with Qatar, accusing them of supporting terrorism and getting closer to Iran, Saudi Arabia's main regional rival, in the worst diplomatic crisis in the Gulf region in years.
"Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah bin Ali al-Thani received at the Peace Palace in Jeddah, where he assured him that relations between Saudi Arabia and Qatar are firmly rooted in the roots of history," SPA said.
For his part, the Crown Prince assured the mediator "the depth of the historical relations between the Saudi people and his brother the Qatari people and the leadership in Saudi Arabia and the royal family in Qatar," the agency quoted.
The Qatari mediator, "his mediation to open the port of Salwa border to enter the pilgrims to the Qatari territory," according to the same source.
The tone of the truce was absent from the speech of the leaders of the two countries since the outbreak of the crisis despite the mediation attempts, especially by Kuwait and the United States.
The king said he agreed with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on the entry of Qatari pilgrims to Saudi Arabia through the Salwa border crossing to perform Hajj and to allow all Qatari citizens who wish to enter the country to perform Hajj. Without electronic permits, based on the mediation of Sheikh Abdullah bin Ali bin Abdullah bin Jassem al-Thani. "
The Saudi King also directed the transfer of all Qatari pilgrims from King Fahd International Airport in Dammam and Al-Ahsa International Airport to the hospitality of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud for Hajj and Umrah.
He also ordered the King "to approve the dispatch of private aircraft belonging to the Saudi Airlines to Doha Airport for the passengers of all Qatari pilgrims at his own expense for the city of Jeddah, and hosted them entirely at the expense of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques."
Saudi Arabia has closed its border with Qatar, the only last land port, and has closed the airspace and territorial waters of the four countries (Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt) in the face of Qatar's planes and ships.