Qatar, Saudi spat over fake news

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Al Thani, cautions Egypt and its allies
Al Thani: Qatar’s foreign minister: denies calling for international control of Saudi holy sites

Saudi Arabia and Qatar have engaged in another public quarrel over suggestions that the Holy sites in Mecca and Medina be open for international control.

But the spat was unnecessary as it was based on fake news.

Qatar said it never made the call. It only drew attention to the difficulties its nationals will face performing this year’s pilgrimage in  view of the June 5 blockade by Saudi Arabia and three other Gulf members.

Saudi foreign minister, Adel al-Jubeir  misconstruing Qatar’s concern said  Qatar in demanding for an internationalization of the Muslim hajj pilgrimage  was declaring war against the kingdom.

“Qatar’s demands to internationalize the holy sites is aggressive and a declaration of war against the kingdom,” Adel al-Jubeir was quoted saying on Al Arabiya’s website.

“We reserve the right to respond to anyone who is working on the internationalization of the holy sites,” he said.

Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani said no official from his country had made such a call.

“We are tired of responding to false information and stories invented from nothing,” Sheikh Mohammed told Al Jazeera TV.

Qatar did accuse the Saudis of politicizing hajj and addressed the United Nations Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion on Saturday, expressing concern about obstacles facing Qataris who want to attend hajj this year.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain previously issued a list of 13 demands for Qatar, which included curtailing its support for the Muslim Brotherhood, shutting down the Doha-based Al Jazeera channel, closing a Turkish military base and downgrading its relations with Gulf enemy Iran.

On Sunday, foreign ministers of the four countries said they were ready for dialogue with Qatar if it showed willingness to tackle their demands.


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