Qatar, Russia sign agreements on air defense, supplies

Moscow - Russia - 09/05/2017 - Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu salutes during the 72nd anniversary of the end of World War II on the Red Square in Moscow. REUTERS/Yuri Kochetkov/Pool

DOHA (Reuters) - Qatar signed a military technical cooperation agreement and memorandum of understanding on air defense and military supplies with Russia on Thursday, a statement from the Qatari defense ministry said.

It did not give details but Russia has been more active in the region since Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates severed ties with Qatar in June, triggering the worst diplomatic crisis in the Gulf in years.

The agreements were signed between Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, who visited the Gulf state on Wednesday, and Qatari Minister of State for Defence Affairs Khalid bin Mohammed al-Atiyya.

Earlier this month, Russia signed a memorandum of understanding to help Saudi Arabia in its efforts to develop its own military industries. The kingdom agreed to buy Russian S-400 surface-to-air missile systems.

Qatari and Russian ministers said they also discussed the Gulf and Syrian crises and “combating terrorism and violent extremism”.

Reporting by Eric Knecht; Writing by Aziz El Yaakoubi; Editing by Robin Pomeroy