Qatar waives visa requirements for Moroccans

#GulfTensions

Qatar's visa-free entry programme includes more than 80 countries, only two of them Arab

Qatar Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani attends inauguration of new Hamad Port in Doha (AFP)
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Thursday 7 September 2017 3:50 UTC
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Morocco was added to a list of countries whose citizens no longer need visas to enter Qatar, official Moroccan media said.

Qatar, hit by a land-and-air embargo imposed by a group of its most powerful neighbours, introduced a visa-free entry programme for 80 nationalities in early August 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 militant groups and being too close to Riyadh's arch-rival Tehran. 

Doha denies the charges.

The four Arab states have imposed an embargo on Qatar, recalling their diplomats and banning the emirate from using their airspace or ports. 

Morocco traditionally maintains 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 on Tuesday to attend the official opening of a new $7.4bn port that 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.