Qatar in talks to buy Russia’s S-400 systems

Qatari military (Shutterstock)
Updated 25 January 2018
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Qatar in talks to buy Russia’s S-400 systems

MOSCOW: Qatar is in talks with Moscow to buy Russian S-400 missile air defense systems, Tass state news agency quoted the Qatari ambassador to Russia on Thursday as saying.
Qatar is engaged in a deepening diplomatic row with some of its Gulf Arab neighbors, including Saudi Arabia and the UAE, over allegations it supports terrorism, a charge Doha denies.
Since the crisis began last June, Russia has been more active in the region and has sold its missile defense system to other regional powers, including Saudi Arabia and Turkey.
“The answer to this question is yes,” Fahad bin Mohammed Al-Attiyah said in an interview with Tass, when asked if Qatar was planning to buy the S-400 systems. “Talks about the subject are at an advanced stage.”
He said an agreement on military and technical cooperation between the two countries, signed in October, had opened the door for further cooperation between Russia and Qatar in the defense field.
This cooperation includes “supplies of military hardware, military training of officers and soldiers, equipment and, indeed, cooperation on the level of special services.”
Attiyah added that the two countries would have military attaches posted in embassies.
Qatar and Russia signed a military technical cooperation agreement and memorandum of understanding on air defense and military supplies in October, when Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu visited the Gulf state.
Last June Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt severed ties with Qatar and imposed travel and economic sanctions on the Gulf Arab state, accusing it of “supporting terrorism” and cosying up to Iran.
Doha has said the four countries are trying to force it to alter its policies to be in line with their own.


Kushner opens ‘Peace to Prosperity’ conference, says US has not ‘given up’ on Palestine

Updated 7 min 57 sec ago
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Kushner opens ‘Peace to Prosperity’ conference, says US has not ‘given up’ on Palestine

  • Jared Kushner to kick off the two-day workshop with a speech on the plan to create a million new jobs in 10 years
  • Palestinians reject the initiative as it does not address the key political aspects of a peace deal

MANAMA: The Trump administration convened an international conference on Tuesday to promote its ambitious, but heavily criticized, $50 billion economic support plan for the Palestinians.

President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, was to kick off the two-day workshop in Bahrain with a speech on the plan to create a million new jobs in 10 years.

The participants do not include official Israeli or Palestinian delegations, with Palestinian leaders rejecting the plan because it does not address the core issues of the conflict.

Saudi Arabia, which will be represented by its foreign minister, said it remained committed to a Palestinain state based on the border that existed before the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.

See how the first day unfolded below *All times local (GMT +2)*

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20:05: More from Kushner's speech earlier. When he moved on to outline the economic plan that was published Saturday, he addressed the absence of Palestinian business leaders at the Bahrain conference.

"A lot of the leading Palestinian business people who we speak to wanted to be here tonight. They were told by the (Palestinian) authority not to come and because they rely on them for their livelihood it’s not a free market where they can make those distinctions."

20:00: Mohamed Alabbar, founder and chairman of the UAE’s Emaar Properties says the Palestinian cause is one close to the heart of all Arabs.

19:45: Some more details from Jared Kushner's speech. He painted a picture of what could be in Gaza and the West Bank:

"Imagine a new reality in the Middle East. Imagine a bustling commercial and tourist center in Gaza and the West Bank where international businesses come together and thrive. Imagine the West Bank as a blossoming economy, full of entrepreneurs, engineers, scientists and business leaders. Imagine people and goods flowing quickly and securely throughout the region as economics become more integrated and people more prosperous.

"This isn’t a stretch, this is actually the historical legacy of the Middle East, specifically of Gaza and the West Bank."

19:45: The first panel - The Time is Now: Building a Coalition for Middle East Prosperity - gets underway, hosted by Nik Gowing.

19:40: Kushner says Palestinian self-sufficiency is the key to helping them reach prosperity, and will be vital in helping create a better business environment climate in the Middle East as a whole...

19:30: Kushner is now summarizing what the "Opportunity of the Century" economic plan actually entails for the conference...

19:25: Kushner tells the conference that the US wants to see peace, security and prosperity for Palestinians, Israelis and all people around the world and that the US has not "given up" on the Palestinian people.

19:15: We are under way, and Jared Kushner is speaking...

18:45: We are still waiting for Jared Kushner's address, and we are being treated to some dramatic music and this holding screen on the live stream...stay tuned, we will have some action shortly...

18:20: Dignitaries for the conference are still arriving and registering and enjoying a welcome reception, so let’s take a look at what we can expect on tonight and tomorrow’s agenda…

- Donald Trump senior advisor Jared Kushner will deliver the opening remarks, with a panel discussion on what the US administration’s plans for “Middle East prosperity” will entail. The panel will be moderated by Nik Gowing, a UK-based professor, author & broadcaster and will include Mohamed Alabbar, founder and chairman of the UAE’s Emaar Properties as well as Stephen Schwarzman, chairman, CEO and co-founder of Blackstone.

- Everyone will then enjoy an opening night dinner.

- Tomorrow, the highlights will be a panel entitled “Unleashing Economic Potential” — looking at how trade and job creation can help Gaza, the West Bank and the surrounding region — which will include Mohammed Al-Sheikh, Minister of State, member of Council of Ministers and member of Council of Economic and Development Affairs in Saudi Arabia.

- Kushner will hold a conversation with former UK prime minister Tony Blair, while just before lunch Arab News’ editor-in-chief Faisal Abbas moderates a panel on how to empower the Palestinian people to reach their full potential.