Qatar responds to reported Saudi threat of military action
Qatar's foreign minister has responded to reported threats of military action from Saudi Arabia, warning that the move violates international law and a Gulf cooperation charter.
Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani made the comments on Monday in a sit-down interview with Doha-based Al Jazeera.
Riyadh threatened military action against neighbouring Qatar if it goes ahead and acquires Russia's top of the range S-400 air defence missile system, French daily Le Monde reported this week.
"The purchase of any military equipment is a sovereign decision that no country has anything to do with," Sheikh Mohammed said.
"Qatar is going to treat this the same way we have treated the illegal blockade, we are going to lobby all the international forums to make sure that this behaviour is not repeated,"
"We're going to take all the necessary actions to defend our country,"
The top diplomat added that the reported threat violated the charter of the Gulf Cooperation Council, which states that member countries cannot attack each other.
The comments come on the first anniversary of a bitter Gulf diplomatic rift between Qatar and a Saudi-led bloc of Arab countries.
On June 5, 2017, a Saudi-led alliance including the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt abruptly severed ties with Qatar, accusing it of supporting terrorism and Iran.
Qatar soon found its only land border closed by Saudi Arabia, its state-owned airline barred from using neighbours' airspace, and residents expelled from the quartet's countries.
Despite hopes that the rancorous rift between the former allies - which include some of the richest countries on earth - would be resolved quickly, the crisis has endured.
Qatar claims the dispute is an attack on its sovereignty and punishment for pursuing an independent foreign policy.
Diplomatic efforts led by Kuwait and the United States have so far stalled.
Qatar, the world's number one exporter of liquefied natural gas, has withstood the economic and political impact of the crisis.