WORLD

Saudi FM slams Qatar for 'politicizing' Hajj

SAUDI FM SLAMS QATAR FOR POLITICIZING HAJJ

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir on Sunday accused Qatar of trying to politicize the Hajj pilgrimage amid a Gulf crisis.

"Saudi Arabia does not accept the politicization of the Hajj rites," he told a press conference following a meeting of the foreign ministers of four Arab countries boycotting Qatar in the Bahraini capital, Manama.

"We reject attempts by Qatar to politicize the issue and consider it disrespect to the Hajj and pilgrims," he said.

"We welcome pilgrims from Qatar as well as every Muslim from everywhere in the world," he stressed.

Last month, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain severed diplomatic ties with Qatar, accusing it of supporting terrorism.

The four states imposed a land, sea and air blockade on Doha and presented a list of demands for Qatar, including the closure of the pan-Arab Al Jazeera television.

Qatar denies the accusations and contends the blockade violates international law.

On Saturday, Qatar's National Human Rights Committee said it had informed the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion of what it said obstacles and difficulties facing Qatari pilgrims.

Last week, Saudi authorities allowed access to pilgrims from Qatar via two airports.

Saudi Arabia's General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) said that Qatari pilgrims will be allowed to come to Hajj aboard any carrier except for the Qatar Airways.

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