Qatar: Arms deal with Russia 'none of Saudi business'
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Qatar: Arms deal with Russia 'none of Saudi business'

Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani on Monday said at a news conference in the capital Doha with his visiting Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that talks on the purchase of air defense systems were ongoing. The top Qatari diplomat said that with regard to the arms purchases, Doha believes that Saudi Arabia, or any other country, must not interfere and that "it is none of their business," adding, "It's a sovereign decision that should be taken by the state of Qatar." "There is a discussion for procurement of various Russian equipment, but there is no understanding as of yet as to this particular equipment," he added, referring to Russia's S-400 missile defense system. Lavrov also confirmed that talks on "bilateral" military cooperation with gas-rich Qatar were under way. The latest remarks by the Qatari minister come in response to a question about a June 2018 report by Le Monde daily that Saudi King Salman had sent a letter to France's President Emmanuel Macron, expressing concern over talks between Doha and Moscow about the S-400. Last year, Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani discussed the purchase with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Elsewhere in his remarks, the Qatari foreign minister said there was no sign of a thaw in a Persian Gulf row over allegations by Saudi Arabia and some other Arab states against his country. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut off diplomatic ties with Qatar on June 5, 2017, after officially accusing Doha of “sponsoring terrorism.”  The government of Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, the Saudi-backed and former Yemeni president, Libya, the Maldives, Djibouti, Senegal and the Comoros later joined the camp in ending diplomatic ties with Doha. Jordan downgraded its diplomatic relations as well.

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