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  Wednesday, August 12, 2020
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Russian President Vladimir Putin held talks with Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani on Monday to discuss the situation in the Middle East and cooperation in the gas sector
Russian President Vladimir Putin held talks with Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani on Monday to discuss the situation in the Middle East and cooperation in the gas sector. The leaders of the two countries agreed that their positions coincided on many problems. Summing up the results of the talks, President Putin said, “We discussed international relations. I can say the positions of Russia and Qatar coincide on many problems. Cooperation with Qatar is of special interest of us. We take into account the fact that Qatar is now a non-permanent member of the U.N. Security Council.” Putin confirmed that Russia would actively work to prepare an international conference on the Middle East. The Russian president praised the efforts taken by the Saudi Arabian king to settle the Middle East conflict. “Now all will depend on the Quartet. We’ll work on preparations for the conference,” Putin added. Russia and Qatar pledged to coordinate their activities in the oil and gas sector regardless of whether or not a structure similar to OPEC is created. “It is very important for us to understand each other, cooperate with each other and develop common approaches in creating equal conditions for producers, and to build a system of relations with our consumers,” President Putin said. He denied assertions that Russia had rejected the idea of creating a “gas OPEC”. “Do we need it? Will we create it? This is a separate issue. But gas producers should coordinate their activities,” the president said. Putin said it might seem at first sight that Russia and Qatar – the world’s leaders in terms of gas reserves – were competing in the market. ” But it’s no quite so. Our markets are separated,” he said, adding that Qatar, as a partner in this field, was of special interest to Russia. The president also confirmed that Russia would attend a conference of gas producers. He believes the conference will develop common optimal approaches to cooperation in this sector. “We must not repeat what we think was wrong in the work of other cartel-type organisations, but we will coordinate our activities, of course,” Putin said. Qatar’s emir said the conference agenda would also include possible gas alliances. In his view, the difference between OPEC and a gas cartel is that OPEC can raise or cut the price, but gas contracts are made for long terms. In his words, the participants in the conference will discuss this issue too. Russia and Qatar intend to achieve major breakthrough in trade-economic cooperation, Putin said. “Both Russia and Qatar seek to achieve major breakthrough in the development of trade and economic cooperation. We have many possibilities to make their development more dynamic.” Among promising fields of cooperation, Putin named interaction in the fuel and energy sector, metallurgy, cutting-edged technologies and investments. “Russian and Qatari entrepreneurs show the growing interest in improving business cooperation,” he said. The Russian president noted Qatar’s hospitability and invited the Qatari emir to visit Russia.
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