Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has arrived in Qatar as part of a tour across the Gulf countries aimed at discussing bilateral trade, energy, investment and regional issues including Syria, Yemen, Libya and Palestine.
Lavrov is scheduled to travel to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates after his first stop in the Qatari capital Doha on Monday.
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Russian media reported that Lavrov, in his talks with Qatari officials, would discuss the “implementation of the top-level agreements, projects in the energy sector, industry, agriculture and the peaceful use of outer space”.
Qatar has invested billions of dollars into the Russian economy and recently finalised an $11.5bn deal to acquire nearly 20 percent of Russia’s state oil company Rosneft.
Ties between the two countries have stepped up since Qatar’s blockade by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain in 2017. Russia has consistently called for an end to the crisis through negotiations.
Ibrahim Fraihat, a political analyst at the Doha Institute, told Al Jazeera that during his trip to the Gulf countries, Lavrov is hoping to gather support to deal with the situation in Syria.
“Russia is trying to establish this constitutional committee in order to deal with the situation in Syria, which is part of the reconstruction process in the country,” said Fraihat.
“Russia is trying to find an opportunity for itself where it can play a role in the politics of the Middle East.”
Lavrov, in an interview with Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) published on Sunday, said the situation in Syria had visibly stabilised after operations by Syrian government forces with Russian aerial support.
But he added it was too early to declare the “terrorist threat” in Syria – a reference to rebels – eliminated.