Crisis-hit Qatar signs military agreement with Russia

Doha (AFP) –


Qatar said Thursday it had signed a defence agreement with Russia, the latest in a series of such steps by the emirate since the Gulf diplomatic crisis erupted in June.

The announcement followed what Moscow said was the first trip ever undertaken by a Russian defence minister to the Gulf state.

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt are boycotting Qatar, accusing it of backing extremism and fostering ties with their Shiite rival Iran -- charges that Doha denies.

The defence agreement was announced after Moscow's Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu met Qatar's emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani and Defence Minister Khalid bin Mohammed al-Attiyah in Doha on Wednesday.

"The two ministers signed (a) military technical cooperation agreement during the meeting," a statement from Qatar's defence ministry said.

It added that a "memorandum of understanding" was also signed relating to air defence and military supplies.

No further details were given.

In the almost 150-days of the Gulf crisis, Qatar has announced a $12 billion (10 billion euros) deal to buy F-15 jets from the US, a five billion euro deal with Italy for seven navy vessels and an agreement to buy 24 Typhoon fighter jets from Britain.