Russia Blames Saudis for Failed Doha Talks

Russia Blames Saudis for Failed Doha TalksRussia Blames Saudis for Failed Doha Talks

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said oil freeze talks between OPEC and non-OPEC producers in Doha ended in a stalemate on Sunday because of Saudi Arabia's "unreasonable" demand that Iran had to be part of the negotiations.

“How can Iran be the reason for the talks’ failure, when it wasn’t even here?” said Novak. “We believe that the presence of countries responsible for 75% of the world’s output here was sufficient."

Media widely reported that Saudi Arabia was pushing for Iran to also limit its own production, something that Tehran, after the removal of international sanctions against it in January, rejected out of hand, RT reported.

No senior Iranian delegate was present at the talks, following a last-minute decision from the country’s leadership.

Speaking to Russian media following the conclusion of the discussions, which lasted over 12 hours, Novak added that the summit “did not meet expectations … when you have a deal ready, and then you go back to having heated discussions."

He said that 11 OPEC states and seven outsiders present in the Qatari capital had spent two months drafting an agreement that would cap oil production at January levels to avoid a further price collapse.

"Some OPEC countries decided to change their terms at the last moment, trying to get concessions from countries that are not here. We were insisting on trying to concentrate on the countries which are," said the official.

When asked to specify which countries pushed for Iran to be included in the deal other than Saudi Arabia, Novak mentioned Qatar, UAE and “predominantly other [Persian] Gulf States.”

Novak said the failure to reach a deal pushed back the “correction” of oil prices, which are currently at $45 per barrel, by between three and six months, and said the market would now likely recover by mid-2017, and that Russia would be “unaffected” by the Doha failure.

The official did not confirm if Russia, which conceived the price freeze with Saudi Arabia back in February, would attend the next scheduled summit in June, but said that he was “less optimistic” following Sunday’s talks.

“Still, we believe that the door is open for future consultations,” said Novak.