Saudi foreign minister said on Sunday that Qatar’s calls to “internationalize” the management of holy sites in Mecca and Medina was a “declaration of war”.
“Qatar's request to internationalize the holy sites is something we consider an aggressive act and a declaration of war against Saudi Arabia,” Adel Al Jubeir told Al Arabiya.
“Saudi Arabia reserves the right to respond to any party working in the field of internationalization of the holy sites."
Riyadh has also rejected rumors that the kingdom has barred Qataris from performing Haj rituals this year.
Saudi Arabia and its regional allies have severed diplomatic and trade ties with Qatar. Riyadh also closed its seaports and airports to all Qatar-registered aircraft and ships and barred Qatari nationals from going to the kingdom.
“The history of the Kingdom is clear in facilitating the arrival of pilgrims,” al Jubeir said.
This comes two years after thousands of Muslim pilgrims from across the world died in a stampede after Saudi authorities blocked a road in Mina during a ritual, forcing large crowds of pilgrims to collide.
Following the incident, many political and religious figures in the Muslim world demanded that the Haj management be transferred to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, given that Haj concerns all Muslim countries and is not limited to the Saudi government.