(Photo credit: Lebanon 24)
The Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, said on 14 September during an interview with French media that his country cannot serve as a replacement for Russian energy, despite its potential role in supplying gas to Europe shortly.
When asked about western sanctions on Russia, Al-Thani said: “It is necessary to be careful about the types of sanctions that complicate matters for the whole world … This does not determine if Europe is in the right or wrong.”
“We all see the problems caused by the lack of energy supplies on the European continent today,” Al-Thani said, adding that although Qatar will be supplying Europe with gas in “the coming years,” the Gulf country “cannot be a substitute for Russian gas.” The Emir went on to assert the need to “find a solution” to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.
The Emir’s comments come as a severe energy crisis plaguing the globe, particularly Europe, due to western sanctions on Moscow. The remarks also come amid a western effort to impose a price cap on countries looking to purchase and import Russian energy, a strategy that experts have said is likely to backfire.
Earlier this year, Syria’s Deputy Foreign Minister Bashar Al-Jaafari suggested that Washington manufactured the conflict in Ukraine in order to cut off the Russian gas supply to Europe, and that this decision was taken long before the start of the Russian operation.
During the interview, Al-Thani also referred to Iran as an “important” potential ally, calling on Qatar’s Gulf neighbors to engage in constructive dialogue with the Islamic Republic.
“We encourage all members of the Gulf Cooperation Council and Iran to engage in dialogue. Of course, there are differences … But we have to sit down and talk about these differences, directly between us and the Iranians, without outside interference,” he said.
Recently, Doha and Tehran have been involved in efforts to strengthen bilateral relations. The Gulf state has also stressed the importance of reviving the nuclear agreement under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the progress of which has stalled yet again.