Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani says his country is concerned about the safety of its citizens in Saudi Arabia during the annual Hajj pilgrimage after Riyadh’s move to reopen its border with Doha.
Speaking at a news conference during his visit to Norway, Thani said Saudi authorities have not yet responded to queries from Qatar’s Ministry of Islamic Affairs regarding the security of Qatari citizens during the Hajj rituals.
“The level of tension between the two nations, the language and the tone of the Saudi media spreading hatred against Qatari people represents a great concern for us,” he said.
“Those people crossing the border right now are under the responsibility of the Saudi authorities for their security and safety,” the foreign minister added.
He noted that “more than 100” Qatari pilgrims had crossed since the reopening of border on Thursday.
Qatar has welcomed Saudi Arabia’s decision to reopen the Salwa border crossing, also known as Abu Samrah, to Hajj pilgrims, but called it “politically motivated.”
The key passage for Muslims on the annual Hajj pilgrimage has been closed since June in a major diplomatic crisis that saw Saudi Arabia and its regional allies cut relations with Qatar.
Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates cut their diplomatic ties with Qatar on June 5, accusing it of sponsoring terrorism and destabilizing the region. The Saudi-led bloc has also imposed sanctions against the country, including restrictions on Qatari aircraft using their airspace.
Doha rejects the claims, saying the boycotters are attacking its sovereignty.