Saudi Arabia said Sunday its aircraft have not been given permission to land in Doha to pick up Qatari pilgrims for the annual hajj after the king authorized flights to transport people to Mecca. "After the directive was issued by King Salman that Qatari pilgrims would be allowed into the Kingdom", explained Saleh Al-Jasser, "the airline contacted the Qatari authorities to get landing permission".
Saudi Arabian king, HH King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques announced that Qatari pilgrims would not be banned from visiting Saudi, but would be required to travel to Jeddah or Madinah by plane to visit.
Qatari foreign minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani welcomed the decision but also indicated that Doha is expecting Saudi Arabia to lift all other restrictions unlawfully imposed on Qatar.
NAN reports that the transportation of intending pilgrims from Nigeria to Saudi Arabia, for the 2017 Hajj, started on July 31. It was reported by Saudi state television that about 100 Qataris have arrived at the land border on August 17.
The news was announced by Saudi Arabia's official Saudi Press Agency following a meeting between a Saudi crown prince and a member of the Qatari royal family.
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Strangely, Qatar's foreign minister too had appreciated Saudi Arabia for the decision, but it looks like the government doesn't share the same sentiment and refuses to open the country's airspace.
"Now we don't have any uncertainty over sending the rest of the pilgrims to Saudi Arabia".
Qatar's human rights committee had previously filed a complaint with the United Nations special rapporteur on freedom of belief and religion over restrictions placed on its nationals who wanted to attend the hajj this year. However, Qatar has denied these allegations. The quartet also halted direct flights, expelled Qatari residents and the three Gulf countries ordered their citizens in Qatar to leave.
"The NHRC emphasises that the Hajj can not be used for political and personal calculations or mediations, rather, it is a right guaranteed by global agreements on Human Rights and Islamic law", it said.