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Oman FM to Asharq Al-Awsat: We Are Coordinating with Riyadh over Regional Issues

Oman FM to Asharq Al-Awsat: We Are Coordinating with Riyadh over Regional Issues

Saturday, 10 July, 2021 - 06:15
Oman’s Foreign Minister Badr Albusaidi.

Oman’s Foreign Minister Badr Albusaidi revealed that the upcoming summit between Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and Sultan Haitham bin Tariq will witness the launch of a coordination council between the two neighboring countries.

Sultan Haitham will head to the Kingdom on Sunday on an official two-day visit.

Joint coordination

The council will act as the framework for several agreements between Riyadh and Muscat, added the FM in an interview to Asharq Al-Awsat.

“Coordination and consultations are always necessary, especially between brothers and neighboring countries,” he added. “The Kingdom and the Sultanate share several interests.”

The council will pave the way for the next phase in cooperation and the summit will likely witness the signing of several agreements and memoranda of understanding in several fields, Albusaidi continued.

He predicted that relations will witness a qualitative leap in the future, especially in wake of the anticipated historic opening of the first direct land border between them.

That will lead the way for promising logistic projects between them, he predicted.

Asked about Oman’s role at the AlUla summit in January that achieved Gulf reconciliation, Albusaidi explained that from the start, Muscat sought to support the Kuwaiti initiative that was proposed by late Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah and continued by his successor Sheikh Nawaf al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah.

“We are now working with the Gulf Cooperation Council foreign ministers and secretary general to follow up on the summit between late Sultan Qaboos and Sheikh Sabah that was held in AlUla in January 2020,” he continued.

Regional stability

Moreover, he stressed that Saudi Arabia and Oman are closely coordinating their stances over a number of regional issues, starting with the conflict in Yemen.

Yemen, continued the minister, is of great importance on the regional and international scenes.

“We are working tirelessly and constantly to stop the suffering of the brotherly Yemeni people, to end the war and help as much as possible to achieve peace and stability,” Albusaidi stated.

Muscat supports the Kingdom’s initiative to reach a ceasefire in Yemen, as well as the Riyadh Agreement and the efforts of the United Nations and United States envoys to the war-torn country.

“Our common goal is ending the conflict according to a solution that respects the concerns of all parties and helps them reach understandings that provide Yemen and the Yemenis with stability and coexistence,” he added.

Albusaidi denied that Oman had proposed a solution to the crisis. He dismissed the claims as rumors that spread when an Omani delegation paid a visit to Sanaa last month.

“There is no Omani initiative, rather Omani efforts to reach agreement between all parties,” he clarified.

Asked about the steps the Sultanate has taken to persuade the warring parties to return to negotiations, the FM replied: “We believe all parties want to resolve the crisis and achieve peace. We are working on achieving that through attempting to bridge divides and address differences between the parties.”

On Muscat’s hosting of the Iranian foreign minister in April and his meeting with Houthi officials, Albusaidi said: “We believe that Iran supports efforts to achieve the desired peace and stability.”

Turning to Iran and whether it will change its behavior with the election of Ebrahim Raisi as president, the FM said: “All behaviors can change and develop if the conviction and political desire is there.”

“We believe that these convictions and this desire are growing for the sake of regional security and peace,” he remarked.

He also denied that Oman was organizing a regional dialogue with Tehran, saying that any such dialogue should be proposed by the countries of the region themselves.

Arab relations

On the Arab scene, Albusaidi stressed Oman’s support for Syria’s return to the Arab League.

Sultan Haitham was the first Gulf leader to congratulate Bashar Assad on his reelection as president in May. Muscat also hosted Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal al-Meqdad in March.

“We call for the resumption of fraternal relations and clearing the inter-Arab air at all times and circumstances,” he added.

Days ago, Albusaidi received a telephone call from his Israeli counterpart Yair Lapid. The foreign ministry underscored Oman’s stance on the need to establish an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Commenting on relations with Israel, Albusaidi denied that Oman will become the third Gulf state, after the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, to normalize relations with Israel even though it supports the Abraham Accords.

“Oman believes in the concept of achieving just, comprehensive and lasting peace based on the two-state solution. We will not be the third Gulf state to normalize ties, but we support the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people and we respect sovereign decisions of countries as we expect other countries to respect ours,” he stressed.

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