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Oman content with current Israel relationship, FM says

February 12, 2021 at 10:07 am

Oman’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Badr Al-Busaidi in the Bahraini capital on 5 December 2020 [MAZEN MAHDI/AFP/Getty Images]

Oman is satisfied with its current relationship with Israel, the foreign minister said yesterday, Reuters reported.

“As regards Israel we are content so far with the level of our current relations and dialogue, which involves the appropriate channels of communication,” Foreign Minister Badr Al-Busaidi said. Oman, he added, was committed to peace between Israel and the Palestinians based on a two-state solution.

Gulf neighbours the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain normalised relations with Israel last year, becoming just the third and fourth Arab states to do so in more than 70 years. The administration of then-US President Donald Trump had hoped other Gulf states would also establish formal ties.

Away from the Gulf, Sudan and Morocco have also since normalised relations with Israel.

In 2018, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Oman and met with the then-leader Sultan Qaboos.

Al-Busaidi also said Oman was ready to help with rescuing Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal, fraying since 2018 when Trump withdrew the United States from the pact, but felt that existing US communication lines with Tehran could suffice.

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“I believe the channels are open directly between the foreign policy teams in Washington and Iran. I see no reason why those channels can’t be reactivated,” Al-Busaidi said.

The 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) deal limited Iran’s uranium enrichment activity to make it harder for Tehran to develop nuclear arms in return for the easing of US and other sanctions.

Trump exited the deal, calling it “defective”, and reimposed “unprecedented” sanctions that have crippled the Iranian economy.

New US President Joe Biden has said Washington will rejoin the JCPOA if Iran stops breaching limits on enrichment and returns to full compliance with the deal.

“Omani foreign policy has always sought to maintain and encourage dialogue between as wide a number of parties as possible,” Al-Busaidi said.