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Qatar accuses Saudi Arabia of denying safety to haj pilgrims

DOHA: The Qatari authorities have accused Saudi Arabia of jeopardising the annual haj pilgrimage to Mecca of Qatari pilgrims by refusing to guarantee their safety.

Saudi Arabia and its allies have been boycotting Qatar since June 5, accusing it of backing extremist groups, in the region's worst diplomatic crisis in years.

On July 20, Riyadh said that Qataris wanting to perform this year's haj would be allowed to enter the kingdom for the pilgrimage, but it imposed certain restrictions, which include pilgrims arriving by plane using airlines in agreement with Riyadh.

In a separate development, Saudi Arabia's foreign minister called what he said was Qatar's demand for an internationalisation of the Muslim haj pilgrimage a declaration of war against the kingdom, Saudi-owned Al Arabiya television said on Sunday.

But Qatar said it never made such a call.- WIRE SERVICES

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