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Saudi Arabia Threatens 'Military Action' If Qatar Buys Russian S-400 Long-Range Missiles

DIVYIA ASTHANA | 0
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| June 3 , 2018 , 11:44 IST

Saudi Arabia has threatened to take military action against Qatar if it continues with the Russian defence deal and acquires Russia's S-400 air defence missile system. The S-400 missile systems are the very system over which the US hinted that it might stop its armed drone sale to India.

According to French daily Le Monde, Riyadh had written to French President Emmanuel Macron asking him to intervene and prevent the Russian deal with Qatar from going through to help preserve regional stability.

In the letter to the French President, Saudi King Salman expressed "deep concern" over the discussions between Qatar and Russia and warned about the risk of escalation.

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"[In such a situation], the Kingdom would be ready to take all the necessary measures to eliminate this defence system, including military action," King Salman was quoted as saying in the letter.

In June last year, Saudi Arabia, along with other regional powers such as Bahrain and United Arab Emirates had broken off relations with Qatar, accusing it of supporting radical Islamist groups and being too close to Iran, the arch rival of Riyadh in the region.

Qatar had announced in January that talks with Russia for supplying the sophisticated S-400 defence system were at an "advanced state".

Despite the threats of Saudi Arabia, Aleksei Kondratyev, a member of the Russian upper house and the deputy chairman of the committee on Defence and Security, said that Russia would pursue its own objectives in the sale of the S-400s to Qatar.

"Russia seeks its own interest, supplying S-400 to Qatar and earning money for the state budget. Saudi Arabia's position has nothing to do with it, Russia's plans will not change," Kondratyev was quoted as saying by Sputnik on Saturday.

"It is clear that Riyadh plays a dominant role in the region, but Qatar gets an advantage by enhancing its armed forces due to the acquisition of Russian S-400 systems. Therefore, Saudi Arabia's tension is understandable" he said.