Qatar denies banning pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia

Doha, June 6 (IANS) Qatar denied the claims that the country is banning its citizens from performing pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia, state-run Qatar News Agency (QNA) reported on Wednesday.

It is Saudi Arabia that continues imposing measures that target only those living in Qatar, as road and air links to Jeddah from Doha are still unavailable, the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs said in a statement, Xinhua news agency reported.

The ministry cited cases of Qatari citizens being prevented from performing Umrah in the past, as well as complaints about difficulties in communicating with certified Hajj and Umrah companies in Saudi Arabia.

The Qatari ministry said Saudi Arabia should separate religious rights from political disputes.

A day earlier, Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Hajj and Umrah accused Qatar of banning its citizens and residents from performing Umrah, saying it welcomes Qatari people to perform Umrah rituals.

The Qataris are allowed to fly to Jeddah via all airlines except Qatar Airways, it noted.

In June 2017, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt severed diplomatic, trade and transport links to gas-rich Qatar, accusing the gas-rich Gulf state of supporting terrorism and establishing close ties with Iran against Arab interests, which Doha has repeatedly denied.

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