Qatar wasn’t pleased after being threatened indirectly by Saudi Arabia after a letter reportedly sent from King Salman to France was published in a French newspaper. In the letter, the Saudis threatened military action if Qatar installs a Russian air defense system.
Qatar’s foreign minister told Al Jazeera he did not think the Saudi threat – reportedly made in a letter to France – was serious. But he accused Riyadh of using the letter to try and create a “disturbance” in a region already rocked by a year-long stand-off between Doha and other powers.
France’s Le Monde newspaper reported on Saturday that Saudi King Salman had sent a letter to French President Emmanuel Macron expressing concern over talks between Doha and Moscow about Russian S-400 missile air defense systems.
The newspaper added that the king had said Saudi Arabia was ready to consider all measures, including military action.
“We are seeking formal confirmation from the French government (about the letter),” Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani told the English-language channel of Qatar-based Al Jazeera in an interview aired on Tuesday.
“There is no serious military threat out of this, but the way it is being used to justify or to create a disturbance in the region is just unacceptable,” he said. “There is no legitimate grievance behind this letter and threatening Qatar.”
Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates severed diplomatic and economic ties with Qatar a year ago, accusing Doha of supporting terrorism. Qatar denies the accusation and says the boycott is an attempt to impinge on its sovereignty.
In the tricky world of Middle East politics, the United States has close ties with both parties in this dispute. Qatar has a base with 11,000 U.S. and coalition troops and they are considered a vital part of the Sunni Muslim alliance. They are countering the Shiite Muslim faction being backed by Iran.
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