(Photo credit: AA)
Russia is hoping to establish closer energy links with Qatar, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told his Qatari counterpart, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani, during a meeting between the two in Moscow on 14 March.
“We have good prospects and a common interest in continuing coordination on the global energy market, including within the framework of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF),” Lavrov said in a press conference following the talks.
Besides the GECF, Moscow’s current energy cooperation with Doha includes the 18.46 percent share of the Qatar Investment Authority in the largest Russian crude oil producing company, Rosneft.
Since the start of the Kremlin’s special military operation in Ukraine, the US and the EU have significantly reduced cooperation with Russia, prompting it to seek energy links with alternative partners.
On 1 March, Syria’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Bashar al-Jaafari, accused the US of manufacturing the conflict in Ukraine in order to cut off Russia’s gas supply to Europe and replace it with Qatari gas, adding that this plan was in motion before the start of the Russian operation.
“Americans were targeting Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 [gas pipelines] carrying Russian gas to Europe before the events in Ukraine. That is why Biden had summoned the Qatari emir to Washington and discussed with him Qatar’s capabilities to meet Europe’s gas supply needs, if necessary,” Al-Jaafari said at the time.
The US government has been trying to stifle Russian gas exports to Europe for some time now. Washington made numerous attempts to sanction and block the completion of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which would have allowed the transfer of Russian gas to Germany directly – unlike the current situation where gas transits through Ukraine.
Lavrov and Al-Thani also discussed the situation in Ukraine. “Qatar intends to make every possible effort to find diplomatic and peaceful solutions to the events taking place in Ukraine as soon as possible,” Al-Thani told his Russian counterpart.