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The New Arab

Saudi Arabia refuses entry to Qatar health minister for key GCC coronavirus meeting

Qatar's public health minister Hana Alkuwari [Getty]

Date of publication: 20 February, 2020

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Qatar has accused Saudi Arabia of 'politicising the humanitarian sector' after its minister for public health was not permitted to enter Riyadh in time for a GCC meeting on coronavirus.

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GCC, blockade.
Qatar has criticised Saudi Arabia for refusing entry to its health minister, who had planned to attend a Gulf Cooperation Council meeting in Riyadh on Thursday.

Qatar's foreign ministry took to Twitter to "express its concern" that Minister for Public Health Hanan Alkuwari could not attend the meeting about preventative measures for the coronavirus, organised by the GCC General Secretariat.

"Saudi Arabia has repeatedly claimed that the GCC, especially the technical committees, have not been affected by the crisis," the foreign ministry said in a statement.

"Yet we are surprised to see that Saudi is politicising a humanitarian sector, that requires close collaboration and coordination due to the urgency of the situation," it added.

The ministry called on Saudi Arabia to "assume its role" as a professional and impartial host of the GCC headquarters.

Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt imposed a compete diplomatic, trade and transit blockade on Qatar in June 2017. 

The four nations accused Doha of backing radical Islamists, including the Muslim Brotherhood, and seeking closer ties with Saudi arch rival Tehran - allegations Qatar vehemently denies.


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