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Sunday 10 January 2021

First Qataris in 3 Years Drive across Border into Saudi Arabia

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JEDDAH (Arab News) — Qataris drove across the land border into Saudi Arabia on Saturday for the first time in more than three years. At least 70 vehicles passed through the crossing into the Kingdom on the first day and 20 travelled in the other direction, the crossing’s customs director Ali Al-Aklabi said.

The Saudi Kingdom last week ended the trade, travel and diplomatic boycott of Doha imposed in June 2017 by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain.

The UAE said last week that travel and trade links could resume within a week of the deal, but restoring diplomatic ties required more time as parties work to rebuild trust. Saudia, the Kingdom’s national carrier, will resume flights from Riyadh and Jeddah to Doha on Monday, the airline said on Saturday. Qatar Airways said it would resume flights to Riyadh on Monday, Jeddah next Thursday and Dammam next Saturday.

“We’re returning to our second home country”, said the first Qatari to enter the Kingdom through the Abu Samra-Salwa border crossing. “The process and passing through was easy, and port authorities are cooperative and welcoming.”

However, preventive measures and health checks to contain the spread of the coronavirus are in place on both sides of the Saudi-Qatar land border. Qataris entering Saudi Arabia must produce evidence of a negative test, take a further test at a health centre set up at the crossing, and self-isolate in the Kingdom for up to seven days. In the other direction, all arrivals into Qatar must also present a negative COVID-19 test, take a new test at the border and quarantine for one week in one of a number of selected hotels.

View online : Saudi Arabia and Allies to Restore Full Ties with Qatar

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