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No Trucks, No Chickens: The Situation on Qatar’s Border With Saudi Arabia

© Sputnik / Valery Melnikov / Go to the photo bankCheckpoint on the closed border between Qatar and Saudi Arabia
Checkpoint on the closed border between Qatar and Saudi Arabia - Sputnik International
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The border between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, almost two weeks after the break in diplomatic relations, is almost empty. The Saudis only allow citizens of third countries with a Saudi visa to enter their territory. On Sunday, even those people won’t be allowed to cross and the border will be totally locked down.

Buildings are seen from across the water in Doha, Qatar June 5, 2017 - Sputnik International
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Saudi Arabia is the only country with which Qatar has a land border. Through this border the emirate receives a significant portion of its food supply and many other goods necessary for daily existence. 

Therefore, when on June 5 the Saudis and their allies announced the termination of relations with Qatar and the shutting of its border, it looked like a serious measure. 

Fortunately for Qatar, it has developed maritime and air connections with the rest of the world, including with such influential regional powers as Iran and Turkey, making this border blockade a rather symbolic measure.

The highway to the international border is a scenic road, surrounded with majestic desert sites. The blazing sun and empty highway create the effect of a mirage. 

© Sputnik / Valery Melnikov / Go to the photo bankCheckpoint on the closed border between Qatar and Saudi Arabia
Checkpoint on the closed border between Qatar and Saudi Arabia - Sputnik International
Checkpoint on the closed border between Qatar and Saudi Arabia

The border police were once busy patrolling the checkpoints. Now, however, they are training their dogs because there is just too much spare time.

"Before the embargo broke out, there were 5,000 to 7,000 people passing through our checkpoint each day. There were even more people passing through during the holidays,” the officer on duty told a RIA Novosti correspondent.

He further said that there were about 1,000 trucks crossing each day. 

“Can you imagine how noisy it was and how much work we had?” the officer said.

The spacious, well-equipped border infrastructure shows just how rich and prosperous both the countries are. 

© Sputnik / Valery Melnikov / Go to the photo bankCheckpoint on the closed border between Qatar and Saudi Arabia
Checkpoint on the closed border between Qatar and Saudi Arabia - Sputnik International
Checkpoint on the closed border between Qatar and Saudi Arabia

There is a separate lane for passenger cars and one for just freight vehicles. 

© REUTERS / Tom FinnTrucks are seen at the Abu Samra border crossing with Saudi Arabia, in Qatar
Trucks are seen at the Abu Samra border crossing with Saudi Arabia, in Qatar - Sputnik International
Trucks are seen at the Abu Samra border crossing with Saudi Arabia, in Qatar

One more lane is designated specifically as “quarantine”. It is allocated for animal transport: for livestock "wishing" to go from one country to another. However, currently not a single chicken was in sight!

At the border checkpoints near the scanners where trucks were searched for smuggled goods, a group of Nepalese loaders were seen relaxing. Some were sleeping, while others played cards.

© Sputnik / Valery Melnikov / Go to the photo bankWorking customs (migrants from Nepal) at a checkpoint on the closed border between Qatar and Saudi Arabia
Working customs (migrants from Nepal) at a checkpoint on the closed border between Qatar and Saudi Arabia - Sputnik International
Working customs (migrants from Nepal) at a checkpoint on the closed border between Qatar and Saudi Arabia

Signs of life could only be found at the checkpoints for the passport control for passenger cars. 

Every ten minutes or so, a car with a Saudi or Omani number plate arrived at the checkpoint.

© Sputnik / Valery Melnikov / Go to the photo bankEmpty checkpoint on the closed border between Qatar and Saudi Arabia
Empty checkpoint on the closed border between Qatar and Saudi Arabia - Sputnik International
Empty checkpoint on the closed border between Qatar and Saudi Arabia

"According to our information from Sunday, the border will be completely closed and till then the Saudis are putting in place something like a transition period, so that their citizens can manage to return home," the officer explained.

He assured that Qatar is ready to allow the Saudis, Qataris and everyone else to travel in both directions. However; this decision was taken by Saudi Arabia.

© Sputnik / Valery Melnikov / Go to the photo bankCheckpoint on the closed border between Qatar and Saudi Arabia
Checkpoint on the closed border between Qatar and Saudi Arabia - Sputnik International
Checkpoint on the closed border between Qatar and Saudi Arabia

On June 5, a number of countries, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt, cut diplomatic ties with Qatar and embargoed all sea, air and land traffic to the country, accusing Doha of supporting terrorist groups, particularly the Muslim Brotherhood terrorist movement, as well as of interfering in other countries' domestic affairs. 

Several other states in the region reduced diplomatic relations with the country.

The Qatari Foreign Ministry rejected the accusations of Doha's interference in other countries' domestic affairs and expressed regret over the decision of the Gulf States to cut off diplomatic ties with it.

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