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>> Saudi Arabia is set to loosen its travel restrictions on Qataris for the hajj pilgrimage. The country will open the border crossing and pay for a plane to fly pilgrims in. It comes amid a diplomatic
] that's seen Saudi Arabia and its regional ally sever ties and transport links with Qatar.
There's no indication this move is set to heal the rifts. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt, cut ties with Qatar in June, accusing the nation of links to Islamic extremism, a charge Dohar denies. The Saudi led boycott is the worst dispute among US allied Gulf-Arab countries in years, but the Qatari government has cautiously welcomed the easing of travel restrictions.
The move could highlight a point of unity. Between two and three million Muslims from around the world travel to Islam's holiest city for the pilgrimage each year. Every able bodied Muslim is supposed to undertake it at least once.