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Qatar-Saudi border reopens after thaw

ABU SAMRAH, Qatar: Qatar and Saudi Arabia reopened their land border Saturday as they restored ties following a landmark deal to finish a 3 and a half 12 months rift.
Saudi shut its aspect of Qatar’s solely land border in June 2017 as a part of a bundle of sanctions it mentioned was a response to Doha’s backing radical Islamist teams and closeness to Iran.
Qatar all the time denied the fees.
AFP correspondents noticed vehicles making the crossing on Saturday. A Qatari supply mentioned site visitors on the Abu Samrah crossing, 120 kilometres (75 miles) south of Doha, had resumed round 0700 GMT.
Saudi Arabia, together with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt, all of which additionally imposed embargoes on journey and commerce, had agreed to raise the restrictions at a Gulf Cooperation Council summit within the kingdom on Tuesday.
The day earlier than the summit, Kuwaiti Overseas Minister Ahmad Nasser Al-Sabah had introduced on state tv {that a} deal had been reached to “open the airspace and land and sea borders between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the State of Qatar”.
Qatar Airways and Saudi Airlines introduced Saturday on Twitter that they might start resuming flights between their international locations from Monday.
Solely a trickle of vehicles arrived on the palm tree-lined, whitewashed land border publish to make the brief crossing into Saudi Arabia after information broke that the frontier had reopened.
A smaller quantity made the journey from the dominion into Qatar, the place strict measures to battle the unfold of the novel coronavirus have been imposed.
“I am very comfortable the border is open once more,” mentioned Qatari Jaber al-Marri, as he approached a checkpoint in his Land Cruiser SUV, including that he had family members within the neighbouring kingdom.
“Lots of Qataris have kin in Saudi Arabia,” he mentioned, holding a detrimental coronavirus check report.
“The approaching days can be higher.”
Qatar has introduced strict coronavirus management measures for these arriving from Saudi Arabia.
Doha would require travellers to current a detrimental coronavirus check, endure one other check on the frontier and quarantine in a government-approved resort for one week.
A helicopter belonging to the Qatari well being service shuttled provides between Doha and the border, an AFP correspondent reported.
Because it was the weekend, cargo haulage didn’t seem to have resumed.
Qatari Hamad al-Marri, who additionally drove a Land Cruiser, mentioned he was excited to go looking with falcons in Saudi Arabia, a preferred Gulf pastime.
“I am going to take a fortnight vacation there,” he mentioned. “I’ll go looking and go to my associates, whom we have now not seen for greater than three and a half years.”
“I will be reunited with my household,” he added. “All people is comfortable that we will go to Mecca and Medina.”
The 2 Saudi cities are focal factors of Islam, however Qataris had struggled to undertake the Hajj and Umrah pilgrimages in the course of the diplomatic rift.
Qatar and Saudi Arabia blamed one another for the hurdles.
A number of drivers gathered at a petroleum station near the Qatari exit level simply hours after the Kuwaiti announcement of a detente between Qatar and its erstwhile rivals.
“It is an incredible pleasure, I purchased this new automotive, a Land Cruiser, with a purpose to go and rejoice with my kin in Saudi Arabia,” mentioned Zaid Muhammad al-Marri, 23, a Qatari with a Saudi mom.

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