Qatar awaiting French response on fears of Saudi Arabia’s attack threat, says FM

A few days back, a story which appeared in Parisian newspaper Le Figaro said Saudi Arabia’s King Salman had written to French President Emmanuel Macron, threatening use of military force against Qatar should Doha go ahead with the purchase of Russian-made S-400 missile system.

Qatar’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs HE Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said the purchase of military equipment was a sovereign decision that has nothing to do with Saudi Arabia or any other country, reported Gulf Times.

Sheikh Mohamed, who said Doha was waiting for Paris’ response to the newspaper report, added that he did not believe the Saudi threat.

Sheikh Mohammed said the purported letter violated ‘international law and all international norms.’

“This letter has no legal basis to justify any action. It’s unfortunate they see this as destabilisation because Qatar doesn’t represent a threat to Saudi,” he was quoted as saying by The Peninsula.

The top official said the threats ‘violate the GCC charter,’ which says that member countries should not attack each other.

If Saudi’s threats are confirmed, Sheikh Mohammed noted his country will ‘respond legally … as we aren’t violating international law, reported Qatar Tribune.

“Qatar is going to treat this the same way we’ve treated the illegal blockade, we’re going to seek all the international forums to make sure that this behaviour isn’t repeated,” he said.

The Minister said tension in the region was unfortunately increasing due to the impulsive behaviour of blockading states.

“All our friends and allies play a role in preventing any further escalation in the region because they understand that the region cannot afford further escalation … and the US is a strong ally for Qatar and for the other GCC members.”

Asked about whether there’s any hope to end the crisis, the foreign minister said: “Qatar remains open to any possibility of dialogue which is based on respect of international law, which is based on respecting the sovereignty of each and every country, based on the respect and independence of every country.

“They cannot impose demands on a sovereign country. If they have any concerns, any grievances, they have to sit at a dialogue table and discuss those concerns.”

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