Gulf crisis: Egypt objects return of citizens stranded in Qatar
Egypt has refused to welcome its citizens stranded in Qatar amid global battle against covid-19 and diplomatic tension between the two countries.
A source at Qatar’s foreign ministry told Doha-based news network Al Jazeera that the Gulf country has charted a plane to bring home Egyptian nationals but Egypt has refused to let the Spanish aircraft land even before it was take off, Middle East Monitor (MEMO) reports.
Egypt also reportedly claimed that all the international air traffic at Cairo airport had stopped as a precautionary measure to fight the coronavirus.
Qatar is one of the worst hit countries in the Middle East with 1,832 confirmed cases of Monday. Most of infected are expat workers leaving in a crowded camp in the industrial area, outside capital Doha.
Both countries have been involved in an unprecedented diplomatic bout amid this health crisis. Egypt in early March imposed a reciprocated entry restriction on Qatari citizens after the tiny Gulf country issued the barring measures which it said aimed at curbing the spread of the disease.
Unlike Egypt, several countries including Bahrain welcomed their citizens also stranded in the gas-rich country.
Both Egypt, Bahrain are part of the Saudi-led quartet which also includes the UAE which has severed ties with Qatar since June 2017 over Doha’s alleged support for terrorism.