Oman signals continued commitment to regional stability

By Fathallah Mukhlis in Muscat

Oman's National Defence Council announces the appointment of Haitham bin Tariq to succeed Sultan Qaboos. [Photo courtesy of Oman News Agency]

Oman's National Defence Council announces the appointment of Haitham bin Tariq to succeed Sultan Qaboos. [Photo courtesy of Oman News Agency]

Following the death of Sultan Qaboos, Oman's new ruler has pledged to continue in the role his predecessor carved out as a regional mediator, adopting a similar approach to foreign policy, Omani political experts and analysts said.

The swift appointment of Haitham bin Tariq as a successor, following Qaboos's death on January 10th, is a clear sign that the policies and politics of the sultanate will remain on the same course, they assured Al-Mashareq.

Qaboos had laid the foundations for Oman's regional approach, and his cousin Haitham executed this vision when he held the post of secretariat general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and its Political Affairs Agency, they noted.

Oman's policy of positive neutrality and working to bring conflicting parties together while ensuring the safety of maritime navigation is one that the sultanate will maintain, they said.

Protecting navigation

Oman is well aware of its regional role and the demands of its strategic location on the Arabian Sea and the Strait of Hormuz, political expert Majid al-Yahyai told Al-Mashareq.

It is committed to working with international partners to protect navigation in this key and vital strait and ensure the safe flow of oil supplies to all parts of the world, he said.

"In his first speech to the Omani people, Sultan Haitham bin Tariq promised to follow in the footsteps of Sultan Qaboos - may God have mercy on him," al-Yahyai said.

"This is a message that our foreign policy will never change, and that it is based on good neighbourliness and co-operation with all for the good of humanity," he said.

"We have very good relations with everyone, which allows us to heal rifts in international relations" and bring nations closer together, he added.

Oman's efforts in this regard are done patiently and silently, "without clamour or media publicity", al-Yahyai said.

"Oman has taken it upon itself to prevent fighting and conflicts in the region and has never supported a side in the conflicts in the volatile region," journalist Ahmed al-Zadjali told Al-Mashareq.

"All we seek is to keep the region safe and that oil corridors remain safe and that maritime traffic flows through them normally," he said, adding that Oman is able to deliver on these goals.

"We have the ability, competence and readiness to do our duty to the fullest," he added.

Oman's neutral role

"I believe that the Omani role, which is characterised by neutrality, will be able to once again converge the views of the various parties to establish security and peace in the region," al-Zadjali said.

"We trust, as does the international community, in the performance of Omani diplomacy," he said.

"Our commitment to regional and international institutions, be it the UN and its agencies, the Arab League or the Gulf Co-operation Council, is clear."

"Our stances are known and we express them explicitly to everyone, and our vision emanates from an in-depth study of history and international balances."

"We will continue to fulfill our obligations toward everyone," al-Zadjali said.

"This policy will not change, because we built it on firm foundations that derive their strength from building on common humanity and respect for the sovereignty of states and mutual interests," he added.

After the death of Qaboos, Oman "will continue to work with brotherly states to reduce international tension", strategy expert Khalifa al-Hinai told Al-Mashareq.

"An in-depth reading of the brief speech delivered by Sultan Haitham bin Tariq affirms Oman's firm determination to maintain its active role in various issues and international forums," he said.

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