–Qatar dismissed reports of threats of military action by Saudi Arabia over its plans to acquire the Russian-made S-400 air defense system, saying Qatar’s decision to buy weapons is a “sovereign” one.
Qatar’s foreign minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani has said the threats violates “international law and all the international norms”.
“The purchase of any military equipment is a sovereign decision that no country has anything to do with,” Al Thani told Al Jazeera.
In a letter addressed to French President Emmanuel Macron, Saudi King Salman expressed his “profound concern” with talks under way between Moscow and Doha for the sale of the advanced anti-aircraft weapon system, French daily Le Monde reported on Friday.
The Saudi monarch, who asked that France increase its pressure on Qatar, said he was worried about the consequences of Doha’s acquisition of the mobile surface-to-air missile system, which he said threatened Saudi security interests.
“[In such a situation], the Kingdom would be ready to take all the necessary measures to eliminate this defense system, including military action,” King Salman was quoted as saying in the letter.
“This letter has no legal basis to justify any action,” Al Thani said in an interview with Al Jazeera.
“It’s unfortunate that they see this as destabilization because Qatar does not represent a threat to Saudi,” he said.
Tuesday marks one year since Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt severed diplomatic and trade ties with Qatar, sparking the biggest diplomatic crisis in the Persian Gulf in years.
Accusing Doha of supporting “terrorists” and being too close to Saudi Arabia’s regional rival Iran, Riyadh said it acted to “protect its national security from the dangers of terrorism and extremism”.
Land and maritime borders with the Gulf country were shut, air links suspended and Qatari citizens expelled.
Qatar has repeatedly rejected the “baseless” accusations levelled against it, viewing the campaign as an attempt to impose custodianship over the nation.
If Saudi’s threats are confirmed, Al Thani noted his country will “respond legally … as we are not violating international law”.