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Qatar and Russia discuss Ukraine conflict’s impact on oil markets

REUTERS/Turar Kazangapov
Sheikh Tamim and Putin discussed the conflict's impact on food security as well as the situation in Libya and Syria.

Qatar’s Emir and Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed the Ukraine crisis and its impact on energy markets during a meeting on the sidelines of a summit in Kazakhstan on Thursday, the emir’s office said.

Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani and Putin also discussed the conflict’s impact on food security as well as the situation in Libya, Syria and the Iran nuclear talks, the office added.

The meeting was meant as an attempt to smooth over tensions between Russia and Qatar, which have grown since the Ukraine crisis broke out earlier this year, a source familiar with the talks told Reuters on Wednesday.

Major gas-exporter Qatar has sought a largely neutral stance on the conflict but moves by the Gulf Arab state, including its recent criticism of Russia’s annexation of Ukrainian territory, have recently irked Moscow, the source said.

Qatar “needs cordial relations with Russia and others in the region,” in order to continue to play a role as a conflict mediator, the source said.

Earlier on Thursday, Sheikh Tamim said that Qatar has strong and historic relations with Russia, Al Jazeera reported.

“Qatar’s Emir emphasised support for all international and regional efforts to find an immediate peaceful solution to the Ukraine crisis and affirmed the necessity of respecting the sovereignty of states,” the statement from the emir’s office said.