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Seychelles, South Africa granted visa-free travel to Qatar amid Gulf row

Seychelles, South Africa granted visa-free travel to Qatar amid Gulf row


Nationals of Seychelles and South Africa have been listed among the 37 countries granted visa-free travel to Qatar as the Gulf nation is blocked by its neighbours amid recent diplomatic row.

Qatari authorities announced in a statement on June 22, 2017 that they have introduced a visa-on-arrival policy, Russian news agency Sputnik reported.

Among the countries are Argentina, Chile, French Guiana, Latvia, Macedonia, Paraguay, Slovakia, Lebanon, Bolivia, China, Ecuador, Guyana, Seychelles, Malta, Peru, Slovenia, Thailand, Brazil, Colombia, Estonia, Indonesia, Lithuania, Mexico, Romania, South Africa, Uruguay, Bulgaria, Croatia Falk Islands, Kazakhstan, Macau, Moldova, Russia, Suriname and Venezuela.

The conditions for obtaining the visa-on-arrival includes a 100 QAR ($27) fee, valid passport of not less than 6 months, return ticket, hotel reservation and money equivalent to $1,500 or a credit card, the statement added.

This move comes days after Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates fell out with the Gulf country after it accused it of supporting Islamist militants and Iran. Qatar vehemently denies the claims.

Some African countries took sides in the diplomatic row with Chad recalling its ambassador from Qatar “for consultations” after Senegal recalled its envoy citing its “active solidarity” with Saudi Arabia.

Mauritania, a member of the Arab League, severed ties with Qatar following the lead of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt – while Gabon condemned Doha.

However, Guinean President Alpha Conde offered to mediate in the diplomatic crisis in his capacity as chairperson of the African Union to find a swift and peaceful solution.

Somalia also expressed concern and advised that it should be settled with dialogue after it expressed neutrality. This resulted in a recall of the United Arab Emirates ambassador in the capital Mogadishu.

The government of Seychelles also called on all the parties involved to engage in meaningful dialogue in order to resolve and deescalate the current situation.

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