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Saudi travel ban over UAE ID card dispute

Riyadh, August 22, 2009

Saudi Arabia said it has stopped recognising UAE identity cards because it dislikes a map on the cards and is requiring Emiratis to travel with a passport instead.

Under a mutual agreement between UAE and Saudi, citizens were allowed to gain entrance to the other country by showing their national identity cards, according to a report in our sister newspaper Gulf Daily News.

But Saudi Arabia withdrew from the agreement in protest at an image of the UAE map on Emiratis' ID cards that does not correspond to the border agreed by the two in 1974, General Salem Al Bolayhed, head of the immigration authority, was quoted as saying by the official SPA news agency.

'The kingdom has taken many measures to contain the issue by submitting an official memorandum via diplomatic channels... calling on brothers in the UAE to correct the map to match the current reality of common borders between the two countries,' Bolayhed said.

'And since there was no response from the UAE to the efforts made in that respect, it has been decided that UAE citizens should be banned from entering the kingdom with their official identity cards.'

Treaty

'Citizens of the two countries wishing to move between the official crossings have to use their passports instead of their national identity cards,' he added.

Saudi and the UAE disagreed over their mutual boundary line until 1974 when they signed a borders treaty in Jeddah.

Saudi and the UAE states have been embroiled in a row over the location of a pan-Gulf central bank, which is to be based in Riyadh, much to the dismay of the UAE, home to trade and tourism hub Dubai.




Tags: UAE | Saudi | Ban | travel | ID card |

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