RABAT, Morocco, 8 September 2017: Morocco has been added to a list of countries whose citizens no longer need visas to enter Qatar, official Moroccan media has said.
Qatar, hit by a land and air embargo imposed by a group of its most powerful neighbours, in early August introduced a visa-free entry programme for 80 nationalities to stimulate air transport and tourism.
Qatar’s Prime Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser Al-Thani, who met a Moroccan delegation in Doha on Tuesday, announced that his country “had removed the obligation for Moroccan citizens to obtain a visa”, Morocco’s official MAP news agency said the same day.
Morocco and Lebanon are so far the only two Arab countries to benefit from the policy, although fellow members of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council still in theory have visa-free access to the gas-rich emirate.
Regional kingpin Saudi Arabia as well as the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain cut ties with Qatar in June, accusing it of bankrolling Islamist extremist groups and being too close to Riyadh’s arch-rival Tehran.
Doha denies the charges.
Morocco traditionally has close strategic ties with Gulf states. It has remained neutral in the recent crisis, offering to act as a mediator.
The Moroccan delegation was visiting Qatar Tuesday to attend the official opening of a new USD7.4 billion port Doha said would help to “break the shackles” of the three-month-old boycott.
The GCC includes Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Qatar, as well as Kuwait and Oman.
© Agence France-Presse