Qatar says its arms purchases 'none of Riyadh's business'

Qatar says its Russian arms purchases 'none of Riyadh's business'
2 min read
04 March, 2019
Qatar on Monday told rival Saudi Arabia not to meddle in its potential arms purchases from Russia, as the Gulf state weighs the controversial purchase of an air defence system.

Saudi Arabia and its allies imposed a blockade on Qatar in 2017 [Getty]
Qatar’s plans to buy arms from Russia is a sovereign decision, authorities said on Monday, calling on rival Saudi Arabia to not meddle in its affairs as the tiny Gulf state weighs the controversial air defence system purchase.

"Regarding the arms sales that Qatar has with Russia... we believe that Saudi Arabia, or any other countries, it is none of their business," Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani said at a news conference in Doha with his visiting Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov. 

"It's a sovereign decision that should be taken by the state of Qatar," said Sheikh Mohammed when asked about a possible purchase of the S-400, a sophisticated Russian-made anti-aircraft weapon system.

He said talks on the purchase were ongoing, while Lavrov also confirmed that talks on "bilateral" military cooperation with gas-rich Qatar were taking place. 

The possible arms deal first surfaced last year, sparking backlash by Gulf powerhouse Saudi Arabia - which along with the UAE and their allies cut all ties with Doha in 2017 over allegations of support for Islamist extremists and Saudi-arch enemy Iran.

Qatar denies the allegations and says its rivals actually want regime change in Doha.

Last year, Saudi King Salman expressed Riyadh's concern over the potential deal to buy S-400s in a letter to French President Emmanuel Macron, threatening military action if Qatar went ahead with the purchase.

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