Russia and Qatar have signed contracts for the delivery of Kornet-E anti-tank guided missiles, grenade launchers, machine guns and small arms, Russian Ambassador to Qatar Nurmakhmad Kholov told TASS in an interview published by the state-run news agency on July 21.
“An agreement on military-technical cooperation was signed in October 2017 [during Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu’s visit to Qatar]. Work on its implementation began after that. Contracts have been signed for the supply of traditional weapons, for example, small arms, Kalashnikov assault rifles, grenade launchers and machine guns, as well as the Kornet anti-tank missile systems,” Kholov said.
The diplomat revealed that the sides are negotiating on a possible delivery of Russian-made S-400 missile defense systems to Qatar. However, Kholov pointed out that there is still no agreement on this topic. He also pointed out that some regional countries are not happy to see these negotiations, for example Saudi Arabia, which is in conflict with Qatar.
Kholov added that Doha is waiting a visit of President Vladimir Putin.
He also commented on possible visits of Qatari top leadership to Russia:
“Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, came twice earlier this year, let’s say, officially and semi-officially. He attended FIFA World Cup matches several times. I don’t think there is any need for his visit until the end of this year. However, our relations have been developing very intensively, so nothing can be ruled out.”
In the future, Qatar will likely continue its steps to diversify its foreign policy contacts and to build closer relations with Russia. Doha’s conflict with Saudi Arabia and its allies and the US inability or unwilligness to settle this situation via diplomatic measures are the key reasons behind this attitude.