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  • Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu delivers a speech during the opening of the international military-technical forum

    Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu delivers a speech during the opening of the international military-technical forum "ARMY-2016" in Moscow region, Russia, September 6, 2016. | Photo: Reuters

Published 26 October 2017

Qatar and Russia signed an agreement on Wednesday to increase their military and technical cooperation, state sources say.

Qatar and Russia have signed an agreement Wednesday to increase their military and technical cooperation, state sources say.

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According to the Russian state news agency TASS, the cooperation pact was signed after the meeting of Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and his counterpart, Khaled bin Mohamad al-Atiya, in Doha, the capital of Qatar.

Likewise, representatives of Rosoboronexport - Russia's main arms exporter - signed agreements with Qatari authorities to export military equipment to Qatar.

"This visit emphasizes our  determination to develop and strengthen bilateral cooperation between Doha and Moscow," the Russian Defense Minister said at his meeting with Al-Atiya.

The two sides, in tackling issues of global and regional interest, such as the fight against terrorism and, in particular, the crisis in Syria and its post-war future, have agreed to join efforts to facilitate an agreement for the cessation of hostilities in Syria.

The officials also discussed the blockade imposed by Saudi Arabia and other regional countries on Qatar. Both parties called on the international community to find solutions to end the situation.

On June 5, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt and Bahrain announced the rupture of their diplomatic relations with Qatar by closing land borders and blocking airspace to Qatari planes. Sanctions were also imposed on Qatar.

According to the Saudi-led group of countries, the cessation of diplomatic relations and accompanying sanctions against Doha stem from Qatari support for Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood, an illegal political group in Egypt. The countries participating in reprimands indicated that the restrictive measures will remain until Qatar turns changes policies.

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However, Qatari officials have called these measures "unjustified" and reiterated that they will resist such hostilities.

Qatari officials have criticized the blockade for impeding the war on terror, specifically operations against the Islamic State group. The United States’ largest regional military base is stationed in Qatar and the blockade has disrupted cooperation amongst the U.S.-led coalition due to the airspace blockade.

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