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Oman’s FM: We Help Bring Palestinians, Israelis Together, We are not Intermediaries

Oman’s FM: We Help Bring Palestinians, Israelis Together, We are not Intermediaries

Sunday, 28 October, 2018 - 09:30
Oman's Minister of Foreign Affairs Yousuf bin Alawi in 14th IISS Manama Dialogue (Asharq Al-Awsat)

Oman is offering ideas to help Israel and the Palestinians to come together but is not acting as mediator, according to Oman's Minister of Foreign Affairs Yousuf bin Alawi.

Speaking at the 14th IISS Manama Dialogue regional security summit in Bahrain, Alawi added, "If we do not reach a radical solution in Palestine, the Palestinians will never enjoy security and the entire Arab region will not settle, and terrorism will not end."

The FM asserted that his country relies on the United States and efforts by President Donald Trump in working towards this "deal of the century", noting that: "Israel is a state present in the region, and we all understand this, the world is also aware of this fact and maybe it is time for Israel to be treated the same and also bear the same obligations".

Referring to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he said: "We do not say that the road is paved, but our priority is to end the conflict and move to a new world."

Bin Alawi’s statement comes after Netanyahu's rare visit to Oman, and days after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas paid a three-day visit to the country and met Omani leader Sultan Qaboos.

Sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that Abbas welcomed this, adding that the Palestinian president supports any intervention that could save the situation.

The sources stressed that the president wants Arab countries within an international mechanism along with the United States, Russia, the United Nations and other countries. Abbas was apparently aware of contacts and meetings with Netanyahu.

The President banned any abuse of the Sultanate of Oman and ordered spokesmen and officials to refrain from commenting on Qaboos's meeting with Netanyahu and withdraw any comments on the issue.

The Palestinian Authority remained silent about the meeting, and Fatah officials were forced to withdraw their comments on rejecting "normalization".

It was not known if Oman would succeed in achieving a breaking through, but Palestinian sources ruled out this in light of current complexities.

Ramallah preferred if Netanyahu wasn’t greeted in such a way that others would not be encouraged to start a public normalization with Israel.

However, this is not the first senior Israeli official to the Sultanate, as former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin visited Oman in 1994 and was received by Qaboos. Few days after Rabin’s assassination, Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres hosted Omani Foreign Minister Yousef bin Alawi in Jerusalem. In January 1996, Israel and Oman signed an agreement on the mutual opening of commercial representation offices.

Netanyahu's recent visit is the first public contact between Israel and Oman and came after a series of long negotiations.

Netanyahu was accompanied by "Mossad" chief Yossi Cohen, National Security Advisor Meir Ben Shabbat and Foreign Ministry Director-General Yuval Rotem.

“Among the issues discussed were ways to advance the peace process in the Middle East as well as several matters of joint interest regarding the achievement of peace and stability in the Middle East,” said a joint statement by the two leaders.

In contrast to the PA’s position, Hamas warned about the dangerous consequences of Netanyahu’s visit rejecting all types of normalization with the Israeli occupation.

Hamas “deplores the acceleration of normalization with the Israeli entity” which serves as “an encouragement and cover for the Zionist enemy to commit more crimes and violations against the Palestinian people, and a stab in the back,” the organization said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Iranian Parliament Speaker's Special Aide Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said that the Friday meeting with Israeli regime's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is far from the wisdom of Oman’s Sultan Qaboos.

In a Saturday tweet and in reaction to Netanyahu’s unannounced trip to Oman, Amir-Abdollahian wrote, “the meeting of Netanyahu, the Prime Minister of the illegitimate Israeli regime, with Sultan Qaboos in Oman is far from the known wisdom of Sultan Qaboos,” according to Mehr News Agency.

‘Palestine Deal of the Century’ will not be fruitful for Trump and Netanyahu, he asserted.

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