*Doha, Moscow agree on solving regional issues

His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani met at his Amiri Diwan Office on Monday with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his accompanying delegation. At the outset of the meeting, Lavrov conveyed Russian President Vladimir Putin's greetings and his best wishes for the Qatari people of further progress and prosperity. The Amir conveyed his greetings to President Putin and wished him health and well-being and for the Russian people continued development. During the meeting, they reviewed bilateral relations and the areas of their development, besides regional and international developments, especially developments in Syria, Libya and Somalia in addition to the Gulf crisis.

During the discussions between the two sides that followed, Qatar and Russia affirmed their intention to strengthen relations in various fields and to enhance co-operation, especially in economic and trade fields. Doha and Moscow stressed their concord on several regional and global issues, particularly with regard to the need for dialogue to resolve any existing crisis through political and diplomatic endeavours.
HE the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani said at a joint press conference with Lavrov that he held constructive discussions with the Russian minister on all regional and international issues, and that there was a common vision for resolving crises through peaceful means and dialogue.

He said the talks with the Russian side dealt with the exchange of views on the developments for a political solution with regard to the Syrian crisis, where it was stressed that Qatar supported a political solution agreed upon by the Syrian people, being the only solution to end the crisis.
HE Sheikh Mohamed said the discussions also touched on Libya and the necessity of establishing security in that country. There should be one government and one army, he said, pointing out that the Qatari and Russian sides agreed to support the Skhirat agreement and Qatar's support to the Government of National Accord resulting from this agreement.
The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs said the two sides exchanged views on the Palestinian issue and the peace process, and joint efforts to end the division between Palestinians, stressing the importance of ending this division and seeking reconciliation among all the Palestinian parties.
On the latest developments in the Gulf crisis, the minister said there are no new moves except those exerted by the Amir of the sisterly State of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah, as part of the efforts to hold a dialogue, along with the efforts of the United States seeking to end the crisis.
He stressed there were no developments to prove that there has been a change in the approach and behaviour of the blockading countries "as the speech and the methodology followed are still the same since the beginning of the crisis".
Qatar reiterates the position it has declared from the beginning and is ready for dialogue if the blockading countries are ready to enter into a positive, rational and constructive dialogue, the minister said. 
He pointed out that the talks with the Russian minister dealt with the Gulf crisis and its repercussions on regional security, and "how these repercussions have begun to affect other issues of concern to us and the Middle East".
In response to a question on Qatar's reservations about Syria's return to the Arab League, the minister said the reasons behind the suspension of Syria's membership in the Arab League still existed, and there was nothing new to change this decision, and "we are committed to a political solution in Syria accepted by the Syrian people so that Syria's seat will be for a political leadership representing the Syrian people".
As for what has been discussed about Qatar's efforts to conclude a deal with Russia to buy the Russian missile defence system (S400) and the opposition of some countries such as Saudi Arabia against this deal, he said such deals are a sovereign decision of Qatar and neither Saudi Arabia nor any other country is concerned with such an issue.
The minister said discussions are ongoing with Russia for acquiring different military equipment and there is no agreement currently for the defence system (S400) , noting that there is a technical committee which is studying the options available that can benefit both parties from any agreement reached, and that the Qatari technical team examines the needs of military equipment from Russia, on the basis of an agreement between both parties in this regard.
Concerning the talks between Taliban and the United States in Doha, Sheikh Mohamed said "we have to be optimistic about these talks because of our desire to achieve peace in Afghanistan", stressing that "peace will not come by force, but by dialogue and understanding".
The Russian foreign minister said he discussed with Qatar's Minister of Foreign Affairs the situation in Syria and Libya, where both sides stressed the need to calm the situation according to international resolutions and laws.
"We also discussed the Palestinian issue and the peace process, where we agreed on the need to resolve it as per international consensus, as well as our discussion of the Gulf crisis and the need for calm, taking the Russian initiative on common security in the region."
The Russian minister hailed the depth of relations between Qatar and his country, stressing the importance of the relationship between the Qatar Investment Authority and the Russian Fund for Investment in the oil and gas sector. He highlighted the keenness of the Russian private sector to invest in this field, and given Qatar's readiness to host the World Cup 2022, the role of Russian expertise in organising such massive sport events and their willingness to participate in these events.
Answering a question on the expected visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin to Qatar, Lavrov said Putin has responded to the invitation within the framework of a Gulf tour, noting that the timing of the visit will be determined later.
On co-operation between the two sides in the technical and military fields, the Russian minister said an agreement was signed between the two sides about a year and a half ago, stressing the parties' adherence to this agreement, and "in the event of the State of Qatar applying for a defence system, the matter will be studied in accordance with this agreement".
On the formation of a new working committee to find a solution to the Syrian crisis, Lavrov pointed out that there are a number of mechanisms such as the International Support Group for Syria and the United Nations Humanitarian Aid Group, adding that many international efforts are being made in this regard, and that there is no need for a new mechanism.
On the visit of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Moscow, Lavrov said that the visit discussed the Middle East peace process. "President Putin emphasised the Russian position to overcome the obstacles to a settlement," he said.
He also referred to Russia's invitation to the parties to a dialogue hosted by Moscow without conditions, and "Netanyahu and President Mahmoud Abbas agreed in principle to the proposal and (it) is now before them," noting that Russia believes there will be no progress in the peace process without dialogue.
On the situation in Afghanistan, Lavrov said Russia is following the situation there and is making an effort to launch a process of political reconciliation in the country. "We have been accused of having connection with the Taliban, and now there is a Russian-US connection on this issue and there is no need for international competition. We are neighbours with Afghanistan and a peaceful solution to the crisis must be reached."
With regard to the Venezuelan crisis, the Russian minister stressed the support of his country to the Venezuelan people, calling on the United States to stop the policy of threat and commitment to the sovereignty and stability of states in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations.

Defence minister meets Lavrov

HE the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Defence Affairs Dr Khalid bin Mohamed al-Attiyah met Monday with Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov in Doha.
During the meeting, they reviewed relations between the two friendly countries and means of enhancing them.
The meeting was attended by Qatar's Ambassador in Moscow Fahad bin Mohamed al-Attiyah as well as a number of senior officers of the Qatari Armed Forces.
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