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Can Oman help pour oil on the troubled waters of the Gulf?

The Saudi interior minister has arrived in Oman on a two-day visit which is is expected to include discussions on the Yemen conflict, the Qatar crisis at[Text unreadable in original source.] Mohammed bin Naif bin Abdulaziz will hold talks with his Omani counterpart, Yusuf bin Abdulla Alawi, and other senior officials on "bilateral relations concern", the official Oman News Agency (ONA) said.

According to an Omani political analyst and foreign diplomat based in the country, the discussions are likely to focus on Omani mediation in the GCC crisis as well as Yemen and Iran. 'This meeting only means that Saudi Arabia now realises how important Oman is to [resolving] the crises in the Gulf," the analyst, who works at a think tank in Muscat, told The National. "The Saudis know that Oman can mediate solutions Riyadh is looking for in Qatar, Yemen and Iran. The Sultanate has certain influence on these countries and this is the feeling in Riyadh."

Oman has played the role of mediator between the warring parties in Yemen, where Saudi Arabia leads a military coalition fighting Iran-backed rebels since 2015, and in the dispute with Qatar over Doha's support for terrorism.

Prince Abdulaziz's visit underscored Muscat's unique role in the Middle East's political order as a diplomatic bridge between the Sunni Arab states and their[Text unreadable in original source.] side and the Iranians on the other.

The Middle East magazine has long suggested that the countries of the GCC would benefit eno[Text unreadable in original source.] disputes from the intervention of Oman and specifically the sage, sound judgement of Sultan C[Text unreadable in original source.] managed to maintain good relations with all his neighbours.

In August 2017, in relation to the fracturing of relations between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which has since escalated Pat Lancaster wrote: There are r[Text unreadable in original source.] embarrassing debacle, to which a halt must soon surely be called. Could it be time to call for the intervention of Sultan Qaboos of Oman to mediate[Text unreadable in original source.] states? His wisdom and integrity are second to none and may be our best hope of bringing a swift end to these shenanigans before it all ends in tears GCC have put more than 30 years of hard work into presenting a united front to the rest of the world, it would be a tragedy to see the foundations of now, at a time when global unity and brotherly love have rarely been less apparent.

With acknowledgements to: ONA &The National

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Publication:The Middle East
Geographic Code:7OMAN
Date:Jan 1, 2018
Previous Article:Amr Moussa's Regional Round-Up.

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