PARIS (Reuters) – King Salman of Saudi Arabia has threatened to take military action if Qatar installs a Russian air defense system, French daily Le Monde reported.
Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates broke diplomatic and economic ties with Qatar last year, accusing Doha of supporting terrorism, which it denies.
Qatar and Russia signed an agreement on military and technical cooperation last year. The Qatar ambassador to Russia was quoted as saying in January that he was in talks to buy the Russian S-400 anti-aircraft systems.
Le Monde said that Saudi King Salman had written a letter to French President Emmanuel Macron, expressing deep concern over the Doha-Moscow negotiations and the possibility that Qatar could deploy the missiles.
"The kingdom would be ready to take all necessary measures to eliminate this defense system, including military action," said Le Monde, citing the letter to Macron. He said that the letter had been sent "recently", but was not more specific.
Salman asked Macron for his help to prevent the sale of the missiles and preserve peace in the region, said Le Monde.
The office of the French president and the communications office of the Saudi government did not respond immediately to the requests for comments.
Information from Yann Le Guernigou and Marine Pennetier in Paris and Stephen Kalin in Riyadh; Written by Maya Nikolaeva; Edition by Peter Graff