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U.S. ‘nyet’ on Missiles Sales Sends Qatar into Soviet Arms

August 2, 1988
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Said to be “deeply offended” by Washington’s refusal to sell it sophisticated missiles, the oil-rich nation of Qatar has established diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union.

The formal agreement was signed at the Persian Gulf nation’s embassy in Paris by Ambassador Abdel Rahman Hannad Alatyia and the Soviet charge d’affaires, Oleg Krigonogov, according to an embassy spokesman.

Arab sources said the move was prompted by the refusal of the United States to sell Qatar Stinger missiles of the type sold to Bahrain, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

Last week, the State Department criticized Qatar and threatened it with economic sanctions for its recent acquisition of 13 U.S.-made Stinger missiles in violation of U.S. law.

According to sources in Washington, the Stingers were part of a CIA shipment of 20 missiles seized and distributed by opposition groups in Iran.

Arab sources here said the Soviet Union is expected to sell Qatar some of the weapons it wants. No details were available.

Of Arab nations, only Bahrain and Saudi Arabia have so far failed to establish diplomatic relations with Moscow. But Arab diplomats said today that Qatar’s decision might pave the way for a Saudi move in that direction.

In recent months, Moscow has gradually increased its influence and diplomatic representation in the Persian Gulf. It established diplomatic relations with Oman and set up an embassy in Muscat, that nation’s capital. Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates have had diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union for some time.

The Saudis, who recently signed a major arms deal with Britain, have expressed their dissatisfaction with what they consider their dissatisfaction with what they consider their unfriendly treatment by the U.S. Congress.

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