Dubai: Shaikh Abdullah Bin Ali Al Thani who successfully mediated for easing restrictions on Qatari pilgrims and visitors to Saudi Arabia has urged fellow Qatari citizens who had interests and property in Qatar to take advantage of the opening of the Salwa border crossing between the two countries.
“Dear Qatari brothers and sons … I urge those who own property or special interests in sisterly Saudi Arabia to finalise their situations quickly before the border crossings are closed after the Haj,” Shaikh Abdullah posted to his 306,000 followers on the Twitter microblog.
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The Salwa checkpoint is the only land crossing between the Saudi and Qatar borders. It was closed on June 5 when Saudi Arabia, alongside Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, severed its diplomatic and trade relations with Qatar, accusing it of supporting extremists, mainly from the Muslim Brotherhood, and funding terrorism.
Saudi Arabia also banned the entry of Qatari nationals into the kingdom unless they are going for Umrah or Haj.
However, on August 17, the Salwa crossing was opened for Qataris going to Haj or with interests in Saudi Arabia.
Shaikh Abdullah, the son and brother of two former emirs of Qatar, was credited with the breakthrough following mediation efforts embraced and then recommended by Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman to King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud who endorsed them.
The crossing has been open since then and hundreds of Qatari nationals have reportedly driven into the Saudi kingdom.
The post by Shaikh Abdullah meant that the crossings would be shut down a few days following the end of the six-day Haj season that will start on August 30.
Shaikh Abdullah, who separately met Prince Mohammad and King Salman, is in charge of an operation room set up to assist Qatari nationals in Saudi Arabia. Four hotlines, linked to two airports in Jeddah and Taif and two residential compounds in Makkah and Madinah, have been set up to answer queries and help Qataris.