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Iran and Oman reach settlement on maritime borders

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and Omani Foreign Minister Yusuf bin Alawi have announced that the two countries have agreed to demarcate a previously undefined stretch of maritime border.

Iran's Mehr news agency said that Zarif discussed with his Omani counterpart on Tuesday how to advance peace efforts in Yemen, including implementing a ceasefire, setting up talks between warring factions and how to get aid in.

The agency quoted Zarif as saying: "Iran and Oman want peace, security and stability in the region and have shared interests in this regard."

The Sultanate of Oman is the only one among the six member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council that did not join the military campaign led by Saudi Arabia in Yemen against Houthi rebels.

Analysts say Oman is believed to have quietly brokered several deals in the region and that it would be very careful in its dealings with Iran over Yemen.

A former assistant secretary-general for Oman's consultative Shura Council, Ahmed Al-Mukhaini, said that: "Oman would be extremely cautious not to compromise its neutrality: it should not be seen as having been influenced by Iran with regard to the Yemen conflict."

Last week, a Houthi delegation visited Oman to discuss the conflict with the government that has previously relayed messages between the group and Saudi Arabia.

Iranian and Omani news agencies reported that the countries had demarcated a 450 km (280 mile) section of their maritime border that had not previously been defined, in the first substantial progress on the issue since 1975 – before the 1979 overthrow of Iran's shah and establishment of the Islamic Republic.

The reports did not disclose the exact location of the area defined but suggested that the border was now fully agreed.

Mehr quoted bin Alawi as saying that "this agreement will strengthen economic relations between our two countries."

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IranIraqMiddle EastNewsOman
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