Stockholm / Information Office / August 17
HE the Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani expressed Qatar's welcoming of the Saudi move on the issue of Hajj (pilgrimage).
HE the Foreign Minister said at a joint press conference with his Swedish counterpart Margot Wallstrom, "Regardless of the manner in which Qataris were banned from the pilgrimage, which was politicized, and the manner in which they were again permitted to make the pilgrimage, which was also politicized, the government of Qatar welcomes the decision and will respond positively."
HE the Foreign Minister called again for the non-politicization of the pilgrimage and for not involving it in the dispute, pointing out that the Saudi authorities have not yet clarified the mechanism for receiving the pilgrims from Qatar.
HE Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani pointed out that the Qatari Ministry of Endowment will communicate with its Saudi counterpart to ensure the safety of the Qatari Hajj mission, stressing that if such cooperation does not exist, the Saudi authorities shall be responsible for the safety of the Qatari Hajj mission during this pilgrimage season.
Asked about a mediation carried by Sheikh Abdullah bin Ali Al-Thani with Saudi Arabia in order to allow the Qatari pilgrims to perform the Hajj, HE the Foreign Minister said "According to our information, this person was in Saudi Arabia for personal affairs, and it was natural to request meeting the ruling family there. Likewise if an Al Saud requests a meeting in Doha, HH the Emir will meet them."
HE the Foreign Minister said that Qatar welcomes any positive step in this regard to start ending these illegal measures. "We hope that these steps will continue, as well as not involving human matters in the political dispute re-uniting the mixed families," he added.
HE Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani affirmed that Qatar's position has been clear and positive from the beginning of the crisis. "We have not reached the same level of escalation as the siege countries have, and we have supported and dealt with the Emir of Kuwait and his mediation efforts, as well as the US government's efforts in this regard," he added.
He pointed out that Doha can discuss any of the siege countries' concern, explaining that the settlement must be based on clear principles that respect the sovereignty of each party and guarantee non-interference in other's affairs.
On the other hand, HE the Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani said that the bilateral relations between Qatar and Sweden are very important, pointing to the need for developing these relations in addition to studying all possible opportunities that contribute to enhancing cooperation between the two countries.
He added that he had discussed a host of topics with his Swedish counterpart, including the gulf crisis, the illegal measures taken against by the siege countries and the humanitarian issued which came as result of separating families and denying many people access to their properties as well performing Umrah and Hajj.