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.


Iraq’s president to visit Saudi Arabia as part of regional tour

Updated 10 min 6 sec ago
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Iraq’s president to visit Saudi Arabia as part of regional tour

  • Salih visited the UAE on Monday and Kuwait on Sunday
  • The Iraqi president visited Jordan on Thursday where he met King Abdullah II of Jordan

JEDDAH: Iraq’s President Barham Salih will visit Saudi Arabia as part of a regional tour that will also include a visit to Iran on Saturday.
The Iraqi president visited Jordan on Thursday where he met King Abdullah II of Jordan. The two leaders discussed projects in the fields of energy, the extension of an oil pipeline between the two countries, and supplying electricity to Iraq.
“The governments of Iraq and Jordan will promote economic cooperation: the joint industrial city, energy cooperation, the oil pipeline from Basra to Aqaba,” Salih tweeted.
Salih also visited the UAE on Monday and Kuwait on Sunday.
On Saturday the Kurdish president will meet Hassan Rouhani in Tehran and a number of Iranian leaders and officials to discuss bilateral relations, ways to increase cooperation, and developments in the region, the Iraq state news agency said.
The veteran politician was elected last month as Iraq attempted to form a government after months of deadlock since elections in May.
His meetings in Iran will be dominated by a number of pressing political, economic and security issues.
The election left Iraq’s main political forces divided into pro and anti Iran factions. Many in Iraq have become critical of Iran’s heavy-handed influence in the country and its funding of powerful armed factions.
Because of its economic ties with Iran, Iraq has also been put in a difficult position by fresh US sanctions against Tehran.
Last week, the US said Iraq could continue to import natural gas and energy supplies from Iran for a period of 45 days, after reimposing sanctions on Tehran’s oil sector.
Iraq’s central bank said in August that Baghdad would ask Washington for exemptions from some of the sanctions.