Qatar has asked authorities in Saudi Arabia to remove “obstacles and restrictions” for its residents wishing to perform the Hajj pilgrimage, as the two Gulf countries enter a nearly 2-year dispute.

In a statement, the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affaires (Awqf) requested that pilgrims from Qatar get access to the same facilities as other pilgrims in the Gulf.

Direct flights from Doha to Jeddah are still not allowed for airlines. The land border to Saudi Arabia is also closed, the ministry said in the statement.

Saudi Arabia is home to Islam’s holiest cities of Mecca and Medina. In 2016, 12,000 Qataris performed Hajj. In June 2017, Saudi Arabia, and three other Gulf countries cut diplomatic ties with Qatar and imposed a land, sea and air blockade on the Gulf nation. As a result, over the past two years, only a few dozen Qatari pilgrims were able to travel to Saudi Arabia independently and perform Hajj.

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Author

Omar Hajjar is a journalist based in the UK. An investigative reporter, he has lived in 3 different countries in the Middle East over the past 10 years.

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