18 February 2018

Help AsiaNews | About us | P.I.M.E. | Contact us | Newsletter | Facebook | Twitter | desktop


Riyadh opens the border with Qatar to let pilgrims in

King Salman orders the reopening of the Salwa border area. A gesture of courtesy towards the Muslim population and Muslims, but the deep divisions between the two countries remain. Bahrain accuses Qatar of fomenting the anti-government revolts of the past. It points to contacts between the former Doha premier and the former leader of the internal opposition.

Riyadh (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Saudi king Salman ordered the reopening of the border with Qatar to facilitate the entry of the faithful on the occasion of the Hajj, the greatest pilgrimage to Mecca that every Muslim must accomplish at least once in his life.

Announced by the official media, the decision constitutes a small signal of desegregation in the relations between Riyadh and Doha, protagonists of a serious diplomatic and commercial crisis in early June, and which grew with the passing weeks.

The Salwa border area has been closed since the initial stages of the dispute opposing Qatar and various Arab and Muslim nations (Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain) as well as Egypt and Somalia. In recent days, hereditary Prince Mohammed bin Salman,  had received a Doha diplomat in the first high-level meeting between the two countries.

King Salman agreed "to the entry of pilgrims from Qatar" to participate in the Hajj and without having to show the "electronic permit". He also ordered private jets from Saudi Airlines to land at Doha Airport to "transport all Qatari pilgrims at their expense".

Last month, in view of the major pilgrimage that begins in early September, Saudi Arabia's leaders had allowed the entry of Qatar citizens, in spite of the ongoing crisis with Doha . On the other hand, the leaders of the emirate point their finger at Riyadh, accusing it of "politicizing" the Hajj and compromising the pilgrimage, endangering the security of the faithful.

Analysts and experts point out that this "opening up" of the Saudi king seems to be a gesture of good will towards the people of Qatar, Muslims, and certainly not a turning point in diplomatic relations with Doha. Divisions remain and there are no solutions on the horizon.

According to some, the clash between Qatar and Saudi Arabia originates from the ties between Doha and Tehran, the Saudis’ number one enemy in the region. Other analysts and experts believe that there is a counterattack to Sunni Islam and, in particular, between Doha and Abu Dhabi.

The controversy also involved Qatar Al Jazeera's satellite channel, which Riyadh wants to close.

Meanwhile, the Bahrain State TV has opened a front, accusing Qatar of fomenting the anti-government revolts that were promoted in the past by the Shiite opposition. The proof lies in a recording of a phone call between Qatar's former prime minister Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani and the leader of outlawed party Wefaq, Ali Salman, in which they agreed to an escalation of the protests.

The goal was to "undermine the interests and stability" of the nation. Bahrain’s public prosecutor has opened an investigation, while the Qatar authorities do  not want to comment officially. (DS)

See also

12/07/2017 09:39:00 QATAR - USA – GULF
Gulf Crisis: Riyadh says anti-terrorist agreement between the US and Qatar is "insufficient"

Arab leaders say the pact signed by Washington and Doha is not enough to resolve the crisis. Diplomatic and commercial sanctions remain in force until Doha complies to the "just" demands. Qatar recalls that it is the only country in the region that has signed a document against terrorism. Al Jazeera's campaign for freedom of the press continues. 

14/06/2017 12:06:00 QATAR - GULF - USA - EU
Europe’s absence and America’s interests in crisis between Riyadh and Doha

The stand-off between Saudi Arabia and Qatar is generating a wave of tension in the Middle East. And among Sunnis and Shiites for primacy in Islam. Riyadh’s aggressive policy supported by Trump for economic reasons. Brussels incapable of favoring the recognition of political, social and religious pluralism.

24/08/2017 13:10:00 QATAR - IRAN – S. ARABIA
Qatar’s salvo to Saudis: Doha relaunches diplomatic relations with Iran

Qatar confirms the return of its diplomatic representative to Tehran. Common goal of strengthening trade and economic issues emerges in a phone call at the foreign ministerial level. Among them, the imposing natural gas field in the Gulf waters. Chad breaks with Doha and accuses Qatar (without evidence) of destabilizing the country.

05/06/2017 09:29:00 QATAR - GULF
Arab front against Qatar accused of fomenting terrorism and undermining regional security

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates close their borders and break o0ff diplomatic relations with Doha. Its policies and support for extremist groups are a source of instability for the Middle East. Over the past few weeks, supposed statements about Iran by Qatari Emir had fueled tension.

05/07/2017 09:49:00 EGYPT - QATAR - GULF
Gulf Crisis: The anti-Qatar front meets in Cairo. For Doha "impractical" requests

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates and Egypt due to meet today. Yesterday, Qatar responded to the list of requests from the Gulf allies. No news is leaked on the content of the letter. Qatar's foreign minister termed demands made of Doha  "unrealistic and impracticable" and denounced an attack on "freedom of thought".

AsiaNews C.F. e P.Iva: 00889190153