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Qatari stake in Rosneft paves way for global energy deals - Doha envoy

Reuters  |  MOSCOW 

By Ivanova and Katya Golubkova

MOSCOW (Reuters) - The Qatari sovereign wealth fund's acquisition of a stake in Russia's sets the stage for collaboration between the Russian and Petroleum, Doha's to Moscow said in an interview with

The Investment Authority (QIA) became a shareholder in following the Russian state-controlled giant's privatisation in late 2016, and now holds a 19 percent stake.

Though is a small producer compared to its massive gas production, firm is on a drive to expand operations globally.

Qatar's to Russia, Fahad bin Mohamed Al-Attiyah, said QIA's stake opened the door to cooperation between and in projects around the world.

"There is no 'malicious agenda'," Al-Attiyah said. "Just pure economic reasons."

Qatar is seeking international partnerships amid a boycott imposed by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Egypt, which severed diplomatic and transport ties with the country in 2017, accusing it of supporting terrorism. denies the charge.

Qatar's joint projects with other do not raise eyebrows, he said. "So then why is there a question mark when we have a collaboration with Rosneft?"

reported last year that Russian secretly loaned around $6 billion to QIA to help finance its acquisition of the Rosneft stake, undermining the deal's stated aim of bringing foreign money into

Rosneft denied the report.

Al-Attiyah said he did not know whether Russian funds were used to finance the deal. Qatar could sell the stake but was unlikely to do so soon, he said.

"We did not invest that much of a stake into this company to flip just like this, very quickly," Al-Attiyah said.

GAS, AIR DEFENCE

The has called on Qatar, one of the world's top suppliers of liquefied (LNG), to challenge Russian in

But the tiny Gulf nation will not be at loggerheads with over the European market on political grounds, Al-Attiyah said.

"We are ... in the space of the same commodity and we do want to expand our markets," he said. "If that expansion comes within the natural course of economic partnership, then absolutely fine."

"But if it comes within the context of any political rivalry, then absolutely we will say no to that ... Why try to push somebody out?"

Qatar could also partner in Russian LNG projects, though participation in Novatek's Arctic LNG 2 has not come up in discussions, he said.

Al-Attiyah confirmed that Qatar was in talks about buying Russian air defence systems, but said no contracts had been signed due to sanctions on Russian military exports.

The sanctions "created considerable concern", Al-Attiyah said.

previously threatened to take military action if Qatar installed the Russian S-400 air defence system.

"We don't tell the Saudis what they should buy," Al-Attiyah said. "And we won't let them interfere in our relationships with "

(Writing by Ivanova; Editing by Dale Hudson)

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, February 12 2019. 16:41 IST
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