Cairo: Saudi Arabia said on Sunday it had launched an electronic link for Qatari nationals wishing to participate in this year’s Muslim Haj pilgrimage amid a diplomatic row between the two Gulf countries.

The Saudi Ministry of Haj said it has designated the link for the Qataris to register their information and choose the haj-related services that suit their needs, the official Saudi news agency SPA reported.

The move comes after non-response from the Qatari Ministry of Waqfs (religious affairs) to cooperate with the Saudi authorities to finalize arrangements for Qatari pilgrims for this year, the Saudi ministry added.

In June last year, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt severed diplomatic and transportation links with Qatar over its support for extremist groups.

The bloc has also designated as terrorists several militant individuals and groups associated with Doha.

Efforts by Kuwait to defuse the crisis have fizzled out.

The Saudi Ministry of Haj said Sunday that the kingdom, home to Islam’s holiest sites, welcomes Muslim pilgrims from all over the world and pledges to offer all facilities and services to help them comfortably perform the rituals.

It has denied false reports that Qataris will be banned from performing Haj.

This year’s Haj is scheduled for late August.

The Haj is one of Islam’s five pillars.

Muslims are expected to perform it at least once in their lives if they can afford it and are physically able.