Published: Sat, October 27, 2018
Global Media | By Derrick Guzman

Israel PM Netanyahu makes first visit to Oman

Israel PM Netanyahu makes first visit to Oman

"Israel is a state present in the region, and we all understand this", bin Alawi said. "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", bin Abdullah said at the conference on Saturday, according to Reuters.

Iran on Saturday denounced a visit by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Oman, saying Israel was seeking to sow discord among Islamic countries.

His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said received Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at Bait Al Baraka, according to a statement by the Oman News Agency on Friday.

In a joint statement released after their meeting, the first since 1996, the two leaders said they had "discussed ways to advance" Middle East Peace and "a number of issues of mutual interest to achieve peace and stability in the Middle East", the Israeli newspaper Haaretz wrote.

It formed part of "the policy outlined by Prime Minister Netanyahu on deepening relations with the states of the region", it said.

Israel does not have formal diplomatic relations with Oman, like with most Arab states.

"Oman is trying to play a regional role between the various parties and axes in the region, and it sees Israel as an important player in various regional issues", the diplomat told MEE on condition of anonymity.

The official also said Israel could use Oman as a backchannel to both Iran and Syria.

The country helped to mediate secret US-Iran talks in 2013 that led to the historic nuclear deal signed in Geneva two years later.

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

"My wife and I were invited to visit by the ruler of Oman, Sultan Qaboos bin Sa'id, after prolonged contacts between the two countries".

"We always thought that if we solved the Palestinian problem it would open up the doors to peace with the broader Arab world", Netanyahu said Thursday at the opening of an innovation centre named after Peres.

Unusually, the trip was prominently highlighted in Oman's state media. Former Israeli premier Yitzhak Rabin made a similar surprise visit to Oman two years earlier in 1994.

In 1995, then Prime Minister Shimon Peres hosted Omani Foreign Minister Yousef bin Alawi in Jerusalem.

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