Diplomacy

Oman continues efforts toward Gulf stability

By Fathallah Mukhlis in Muscat

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Oman's Minister of Foreign Affairs Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah meets with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani during a recent visit to Tehran. [Photo courtesy of Oman News Agency]

Oman is taking a lead role in ensuring the security of the region and resolving disputes through diplomatic channels, as Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) continues to escalate tensions in the Gulf region, analysts said.

The sultanate has maintained good relations with Iran throughout successive regional crises, allowing it to play a key mediating role, including with the US.

Oman's Minister of Foreign Affairs Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah has visited both Iran and the US in recent months to discuss regional developments.

As part of an ongoing bid to reduce regional tensions, he has met with his counterparts in both countries, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

"Oman is keenly interested in contributing to the establishment of peace in all parts of the world, particularly the Middle East and Arabian Gulf," former diplomat Mohammed al-Harethi told Al-Mashareq.

The sultanate "works with international partners to prevent skirmishes that could disrupt maritime traffic and the transport of oil and gas through the waters of the Gulf and Sea of Oman", he said.

Oman has achieved great success as a mediator on a number of regional and international issues, he said.

On many occasions, Oman has "kept channels of communication and contact open between all sides, and sought to soften the parties to the conflict to create an environment conducive for negotiation and bridging rifts", he added.

"This is the historically inherent nature of the Omanis, a people who have a high degree of harmony with other peoples," al-Harethi said.

Omanis seek to spread "peace and harmony through kind words, sincere advice and profound understanding of how things are and the [importance] of not being drawn into taking provocative actions that may poison the atmosphere", he said.

The sultanate is continuing to "promote dialogue and understanding between peoples by leaning on the enormous capital it has in this area", Omani affairs researcher Ahmed Turk told Al-Mashareq.

"Oman has always been keen on working to achieve collective interests, whether within the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC), within the Arab League, or on the wide international and regional level," he said.

"It has never sold its political positions, nor used them to serve immediate or emergency interests," he said.

"Security in the Gulf region is achieved to a large extent through co-operation between regional partners and the US, which is exerting great efforts to secure this region and ensure the flow of oil and gas to global markets," he said.

Successful mediations

Oman has "engaged in many mediations" at the request of countries including the US, France and Germany, said political analyst Mohammed al-Rawas.

In some cases, countries have sought help to pull out or evacuate their citizens from conflict zones in the Middle East, including Yemen, he told Al-Mashareq.

The Omani mediations "were very successful every time", he said.

The released individuals are "first greeted in the sultanate to make sure they are fine and provide them with healthcare if they need it, before they are transported back to their countries", al-Rawas said.

"Omani diplomacy works to strengthen future partnerships between countries and support efforts toward world peace, and plays a major role in bringing parties to the dialogue table and conveying their divergent views," he said.

"This is what we have recently seen happen with the mediation conducted by bin Alawi that aimed to converge views between Washington and Tehran," he said.

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