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Egypt ends visa free entry for Qataris

In a move that would further complicate the situation in middle-east, the Egypt government says it is ending visa-free entry for Qataris.

The Egyptian foreign ministry on Monday said it will end visa-free entry to Qatari citizens from July 20. Cairo, along with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, have been in a diplomatic standoff with Qatar since they cut ties with the country on June 5.

Qatari nationals will now have to apply for a visa to enter Egypt, the ministry said.

“It does not make sense to keep making exceptions for Qatar and giving it privileges in light of its current positions,” said Ahmed Abu Zeid, Egypt’s foreign ministry spokesman.

The restriction will not affect spouses and children of Egyptian nationals, as well as Qatari nationals who are studying at Egyptian public universities, Abu Zeid said.

On June 5, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt had severed diplomatic relations with Qatar accusing it of backing terrorism. Other countries in the region had followed. The US President had initially praised Saudi’s move to isolate Qatar. However, the US had later signed an agreement with Qatar on measures the isolated Gulf nation can take to curb the funding of militancy, and attempted to mediate the crisis.

The move would affect not only the holders of ordinary passports but also those with a diplomatic or special travel documents.

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