Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu makes secret Oman visit

28 October, 2018, 08:30 | Author: Mable Gonzales
  • Sultan of Oman receives Israel PM 'after prolonged contacts'

Regardless of whether such issues pertain to the GCC, the Arab world, the region, or the worldwide arena, Oman has a set of permanent principles and values, centres around attaining peace by resolving conflicts through dialogue and non-violent means.

Qaboos bin Said al Said, the country's sultan and ruler since 1970, invited the Netanyahus "following prolonged talks between" Israel and Oman, the Prime Minister's Office said in a statement.

Over the past years and decades, the Sultanate has spared no effort in working for the sake of achieving peace and establishing a fair solution through constructive dialogue in the framework of worldwide legitimacy, not only in the case of the Palestinian issue which constitutes the Arab countries' central issue and which has been accorded special attention by the Sultanate and His Majesty Sultan Qaboos in person, but also in respect of various other issues and developments in the GCC, Arab, regional and global arenas.

In the statement, Netanyahu's office called the visit "a significant step in implementing" his policy of "deepening relations with the states of the region while leveraging Israel's advantages in security, technology and economic matters". Muscat is now saying that it is time to accept Israel in the region, a move that Egypt and Jordan have taken a while ago. US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, and his Italian and German counterparts also attended the conference. A month later, a rare meeting at the White House brought together officials from Oman, the UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Israel to discuss the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip. But the official said the visit was mostly connected to Oman's "regional role".

In the lead-up to Friday's surprise visit to Oman, there have been signs that Israel's behind the scenes dialogue with Arab states is becoming more public. Trump later withdrew the United States from the accord earlier this year.

The Prime Minister's Office made a surprising announcement late Friday afternoon, telling media that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara had just returned from an "official diplomatic visit" to Muscat, the capital of Oman.

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"The visit is a significant step in implementing the policy that is created to strengthen ties with the countries of the region while leveraging Israel's advantages in security, technology, and the economy", the statement said. Before that, Peres' predecessor Yitzhak Rabin, was the first to visit in 1994. In addition to that, they also discussed other issues of common interest in order to serve security and stability in the region.

"Israel benefits by having a direct link with a member of Arab League, and the Palestinians are benefiting from having the help of Oman reaching out to Israelis without directly conceding anything".

"You should not underestimate the openness and the thirst in the Arab world today for Israel", he said Thursday.

The last meeting between leaders of the two nations was in 1996 when then-Prime Minister Shimon Peres visited Oman and Qatar.

Muscat, however, suspended relations again following the outbreak of the second Palestinian Intifada in 2000.

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