Qatar concerned about safety of citizens during Haj: FM
Qatarâ€™s government has expressed concerns over the security and safety of its citizens in Saudi Arabia who are crossing the border to perform the annual Haj following Riyadhâ€™s move of reopening its border with Doha for pilgrims only.
Foreign Minister H E Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani yesterday told a news conference that Qatar is concerned about the safety of its citizens in Saudi and the Saudi authorities had yet not responded to queries from Qatarâ€™s Ministry of Islamic Affairs regarding the security of its citizens during the Haj rituals. â€œThe Saudi authorities have yet to respond to queries from the Qatari Ministry of Islamic Affairs regarding the security of Qatari citizens during Haj,â€ the Minister said. Al Thani was speaking at a news conference yesterday with Norwayâ€™s Foreign Minister BÃ¸rge Brende in Oslo, Norway.
â€œThose people crossing the border right now are under the responsibility of the Saudi authorities for their security and safety,â€ the Foreign Minister added.
He noted that â€œmore than 100â€ Qatari pilgrims had crossed the border to Saudi Arabia since the reopening of border on Thursday. Qatar has welcomed Saudi Arabiaâ€™s decision to reopen the Salwa border crossing, also known as Abu Samrah, to Haj pilgrims, but called it â€œpolitically motivated.â€
Foreign Minister held a meeting with Norwayâ€™s Foreign Minister BÃ¸rge Brende (H) and discussed bilateral relations, means of boosting and developing them as well as developments of the Gulf crisis and a number of regional and international issues of mutual interest.
The Minister thanked the Norwegian Foreign Minister for his countryâ€™s position calling for the dialogue among all parties.
The Minister briefed his counterpart on the humanitarian impact of the Gulf crisis. He referred to the National Human Rights Committeeâ€™s record of cases, the most prominent of which are cases involving family dispersal, especially women and children, and racial discrimination against Qatari students.
The Foreign Minister reiterated Qatarâ€™s supportive stance of the Kuwaiti mediation, dialogue and an effective and sustainable diplomatic solution based on respect for international law and sovereignty. He also briefed his Norwegian counterpart on the status of Kuwaiti mediation, stressing Qatarâ€™s positive interaction with it.
The Foreign Minister also stressed Qatarâ€™s keenness to enhance the prospects of cooperation with the Kingdom of Norway.
According to Norway Today, Brende visited Qatar in February this year and during his visit met Emir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, and Foreign Minister H E Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani and Dr Ali bin Sumaikh Al Marri, Chairman of the Qatar National Human Rights Committee.
Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates cut their diplomatic ties with Qatar on June 5, and imposed siege of the country including the border crossing point with Saudi Arabia.