Qatar-Saudi border reopens after thaw

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Doha (AFP)

Qatar and Saudi Arabia reopened their land border on Saturday, Qatari sources told AFP, as they re-established ties following a landmark deal to end a three-year rift and half.

Saudi Arabia closed its side of Qatar’s only land border in June 2017 as part of a sanctions package it said was a response to Doha’s support for radical Islamist groups and proximity to it. Iran.

Qatar has always denied the charges.

“Yes, the border is open,” said one Qatari source, while another confirmed that traffic at the Abu Samrah crossing point, 120 kilometers (75 miles) south of Doha, resumed around 7:00 a.m. GMT.

Saudi Arabia, along with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt, which also imposed a travel and trade embargo, agreed to lift restrictions at a Gulf Cooperation Council summit in the kingdom Tuesday.

On January 4, Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Ahmad Nasser Al-Sabah announced on state television that an agreement had been reached to “open up the air space and the land and sea borders between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. and the State of Qatar ”.

“They are letting them go to the Qatar side,” a witness at the border said on Saturday.

Qatar has announced strict coronavirus control measures for those arriving on the Saudi side that will require travelers to show a negative test result, undergo a new border test and self-quarantine at a hotel approved by the government for a week.

“It’s a great joy, I bought this new car, a Land Cruiser, to go and celebrate with my loved ones in Saudi Arabia, and I passed the coronavirus test and waited here hoping they would allow crossing at any time, ”Zaid Muhammad al-Married, 23, a Qatari whose mother is Saudi, said before the border reopened.

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