Netanyahu, Israeli officials make one-day visit to Sultan Qaboos in Oman

28 October, 2018, 05:13 | Author: Roderick Gutierrez
  • Sultan of Oman receives Israel PM 'after prolonged contacts'

Oman is offering ideas to help Israel and the Palestinians to come together but is not acting as mediator, Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah, the sultanate's minister responsible for foreign affairs said.

Bahrain foreign minister Khalid bin Ahmed al Khalifa said his country supports Oman's vision of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, while his Saudi Arabian counterpart called the peace process "the key" to normalizing its relations with Israel.

Bin Alawi said earlier that Netanyahu's visit to Muscat and his meeting with Sultan Qaboos was preceded by the visit of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, but the two visits came within their bilateral framework.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a surprise visit to the Gulf state of Oman on Friday.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with Omani leader Sultan Qaboos.

Though uncommon, Israeli leaders have previously visited the Gulf state.

In a joint statement issued after Netanyahu's returned home, the Israeli leader and Sultan Qaboos said the two sides "discussed ways to advance the Middle East peace process and discussed a number of issues of mutual interest to achieve peace and stability in the Middle East".

Netanyahu was joined by his wife Sara, the head of Israel's intelligence agency, his national security adviser, his foreign ministry director and other officials. Israel is only officially recognized by two Arab states - Egypt and Jordan.

"A special visit in Oman - we're making history!"

Netanyahu has on several occasions hinted at warmer ties with Gulf states.

Oman's unique position in the region could also see it potentially play a role in mediating tensions between Israel and Iran, especially related to Syria. Despite vocal opposition by Israel and disapproval of several Sunni countries including Saudi Arabia, the deal offered Iran relief from global sanctions in exchange for its scaling back of parts of its nuclear program.

Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia's powerful crown prince, met several Jewish groups and pro-Israel lobbies during a trip to the USA earlier this year and declared that Israel had the right to its own land alongside Palestinians.

In another sign of improving relations, Israeli Sports Minister, Miri Regev flew to Abu Dhabi where Israel's judo team was participating in a major tournament.



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