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Families reunite as flights from Qatar to Saudi Arabia resume

CA, 12 Jan 2021
Relatives separated for years by a dispute between Qatar and four Arab states reunited on Monday as the first flight from Doha landed in Saudi Arabia after a U.S.-backed deal opened up travel routes once more.

"My sister has been [in Qatar] for about four years,” said Khalid al-Qahtani, who was waiting for arrivals at Riyadh airport. “My feeling is indescribable, me and every Gulf citizen, we are all very happy.”

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt imposed a diplomatic, trade and travel boycott on Qatar in 2017, accusing it of supporting terrorism - a charge dismissed by Qatar, which said the move was meant to curtail its sovereignty.

During the three-and-a-half years of dispute, relatives and friends would have to fly to a neutral third country to meet.

Saudi Arabia's foreign minister announced a breakthrough in ending the dispute at a summit last week and the air, land and sea links started to re-open.

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