DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Qatar's Foreign Ministry is criticizing as "illogical" Saudi Arabia's decision to only fly Qatari pilgrims to the kingdom on Saudi aircraft, and cautioned against exploiting the hajj "as a tool for political manipulation."
The annual hajj pilgrimage is performed at Islam's holiest site in Mecca.
The ministry's statement, released Tuesday on the state-run Qatar News Agency, also criticized Saudi King Salman's offer to fly Qatari pilgrims at his expense. The ministry said the state of Qatar and Qatari pilgrims "don't need aid in terms of covering the cost of hajj and portraying it as a charity."
Last week, Saudi Arabia unilaterally reopened its border with Qatar to allow Qataris to attend the hajj amid a monthslong rift between the neighboring countries.