On June 5, Qatar’s Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani has denounced Saudi Arabia’s alleged threats of military action if Doha decides to buy Russian S-400 air defense systems. The foreign minister said that his country can decide for itself what weapons to buy.
“The purchase of any military equipment is a sovereign decision that no country has anything to do with,” he told Qatari TV channel Al Jazeera adding that any external pressure on the nation would violate international law.
Al Thani’s remarks were a response to the letter the Saudi King had reportedly sent to French President Emmanuel Macron.
In letter quoted by French Le Monde, the King was claiming that the purchase of Russian-made air defense systems by Qatar will undermine “national security” of its Gulf neighbors. In this case, the King threatened that Saudi Arabia will take any needed measeures, including a “military action” to defend its security.
— MOFA – Qatar (@MofaQatar_EN) 5 June 2018
Despite this, Al Thani also said that Qatar’s decision to buy the S-400 systems will not be influenced by Riyadh.
“Qatar made all the options open for its defense procurement. We are seeking the best quality to defend our country,” he said.
Qatar signed a military cooperation agreement with Russia in 2017. In January Qatar’s envoy to Russia said that the negotiations to buy S-400 systems are “in the advanced stage.”
At the same time, Qatar is still in deep diplomatic crisis with Saudi Arabia.