Foreign Ministry Surprised at Saudi Restriction of Qatari Pilgrims’ Transport to Saudi Airlines

The Foreign Ministry has expressed its surprise at the announcement by Saudi Arabia to limit the transfer of Qatari pilgrims to Saudi Arabian Airlines only.

HE Foreign Ministry’s Information Office Director, Ambassador Ahmed bin Saeed Al Rumaihi said Monday in a statement that limiting the transfer of Qatari pilgrims to Saudi Arabian Airlines only is unprecedented, illogical, surprising and contravenes the teachings of Islam, which urge the facilitation of performing this duty to all Muslims.

HE Ambassador Al Rumaihi noted that it is usual and customary for pilgrims from any country to be transported by national air, land and sea transportation in that country, in addition to other foreign means of transportation, with this taking place as part of the national mission of Hajj. He pointed out that previous cases of severing diplomatic ties between Saudi Arabia and other countries did not see an imposition of transferring pilgrims of those countries on Saudi Arabian Airlines.

As for allowing Saudi Arabian Airlines to transfer Qatari pilgrims, HE Information Office director reiterated the content of the Civil Aviation Authority’s statement on Aug. 20 that coordination be held in this regard through the Hajj mission according to previous regulations so as to preserve the safety and security of Qatari pilgrims.

He stressed that the State of Qatar and Qatari pilgrims don’t need aid in terms of covering the cost of Hajj and portraying it as a charity, because charity has beneficiaries who need it more than Qatari pilgrim. He added that facilitating the performance of Hajj would be through an unconditional lifting of the siege on the State of Qatar, which would go in line with the nature of this rite and comply with the teachings of Islam and international conventions; enabling the Qatari Ministry of Endowments and Islamic Affairs to steer the Qatari Hajj mission; and transporting Qatari pilgrims through the airline of their choice whether Qatar Airways or other flights.

HE the Foreign Ministry’s Information Office director stressed the need to separate Hajj from the political differences between states, not to hinder its performance by placing conditions that affect the sovereignty of states or the rights and dignity of their citizens, and stay away from exploiting it as a tool for political manipulation.

Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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