The king of Saudi Arabia has ordered the reopening of the border with Qatar to pilgrims intending to perform the annual Hajj rituals.

 

The announcement came after the king received envoys from Doha.

 

The Salwah border crossing has been closed since June 5th when the Kingdom, Egypt, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates severed their diplomatic and trade ties with Qatar over accusations that they nurture Islamic extremists. Qatar has since come out to deny the allegation.

 

Saudi has earlier said that they would allow Qatari citizens perform Hajj but imposed clear restrictions including flying airlines approved by Riyadh.

 

Doha then criticise the step taken by the authorities, accusing them of politicising the Hajj and jeopardising the pilgrimage by not guaranteeing safety of it citizens.

 

The decision to reopen the border came after Prince Mohammed received a phone call from US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who has sought repeatedly to defuse the regional crisis, SPA reported, without revealing the details of the conversation.

 

King Salman has allowed

 

“the entry of Qatari pilgrims to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia through Salwa border crossing to perform hajj, and to allow all Qatari nationals who wish to enter for hajj without electronic permits”, a statement on SPA said.

 

He also ordered that private jets belonging to Saudi airlines be sent to Doha airport “to bring all Qatari pilgrims at his expense”

 

The hajj, a pillar of Islam that capable Muslims must perform at least once, is to take place at the beginning of September. The pilgrimage is expected to draw around two million people this year.

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