Qatar blocks Saudi's planes from transporting pilgrims

Kaaba inside the Grand Mosque in Mecca

Kaaba inside the Grand Mosque in Mecca

Saudi Arabia says its aircraft have not been given permission to land in Doha to pick up Qatari pilgrims for the annual Haj.

Riyadh last week reopened its land border with Qatar and allocated seven flights of the Saudi national carrier to bring pilgrims from Doha, in a temporary lifting of a weeks-long boycott of its Gulf neighbour. "The Qatari authorities have not allowed Saudi Arabian Airlines' planes to land despite days having passed since the request began", said Director General of Saudi Arabian Airlines Saleh Al-Jasser.

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The diplomatic rift has since led to the closure of the Salwa border crossing, the only overland connection between Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Nearly three months after Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Egypt cut off diplomatic ties with Qatar, Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has appeared to offer a small step towards reconciliation. They also blocked Qatari flights from using their airspace.

Those countries accuse Qatar of supporting terror groups and attempting to destabilize the region, among other things.

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But even as Doha cautiously welcomed the reopening of the border, it blasted the move as "politically motivated".

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.

That's because the Qatari who met with the Saudi crown prince is Sheikh Abdullah bin Ali bin Abdullah bin Jassim al-Thani.

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Several Arab media reported earlier on Sunday that the aircraft allegedly sent by Saudi Arabia had already taken the pilgrims from Doha.

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