Oman’s new ruler Haitham bin Tariq promises good ties with all nations

Oman’s new ruler Haitham bin Tariq promises good ties with all nations
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The 65-year-old cousin of late Sultan Qaboos was sworn in as the new royal ruler on Saturday morning. (AFP)
Oman’s new ruler Haitham bin Tariq promises good ties with all nations
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Tariq Al-Said was the minister of heritage and national culture, and the cousin of Sultan Qaboos. He graduated from Oxford University in 1979 after studying the Foreign Service Programme. (File/AFP)
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Updated 13 January 2020

Oman’s new ruler Haitham bin Tariq promises good ties with all nations

Oman’s new ruler Haitham bin Tariq promises good ties with all nations
  • The 65-year-old newly appointed sultan was Oman's former culture minister
  • He graduated from Oxford University in 1979 after studying the Foreign Service Programme

MUSCAT: Oman's new ruler Sultan Haitham bin Tariq Al-Said promised on Saturday to maintain the Gulf Arab state's foreign policy which he said was built on peaceful coexistence and maintaining friendly ties with all nations.

In a speech broadcast on state television, he also called for efforts to develop the relatively small oil producer, continuing the path of his predecessor Sultan Qaboos bin Said who died on Friday. Qaboos, who built modern Oman, had acted as a regional mediator. 

The 65-year-old cousin of late Sultan Qaboos was sworn in as the new royal ruler on Saturday morning, the government said

"Haitham bin Tariq was sworn in as the new sultan of the country... after a meeting of the family which decided to appoint the one who was chosen by the sultan," the government said in a tweet.

In his first speech as sultan, Haitham pledged to follow the non-interference policy that made the sultanate a vital regional mediator under Sultan Qaboos who reigned for half a century.

"We will follow the path of the late sultan," he said, dressed in the Omani royals' signature coloured turban and gold-trimmed robes.

He expressed support for "our country's foreign policy of peaceful living among nations and peoples... and not interfering in the internal affairs of others, respecting nations' sovereignty and international cooperation".

And he said that under his reign, Oman would continue to "promote peaceful solutions" to regional and global crises.




An image grab taken from Oman TV on January 11, 2020, shows Oman's newly sworn-in Sultan Haitham bin Tariq arriving to the Grand Mosque in the capital Muscat to take part in the funeral of Sultan Qaboos. (AFP)

Sultan Qaboos, the longest-reigning leader of the modern Arab world who died Friday at the age of 79, was unmarried and had no children, and left no apparent heir.

Tariq Al-Said, a sports enthusiast, held the position of undersecretary of the ministry of foreign affairs for political affairs before becoming the minister of heritage and culture in the mid-1990s.

He graduated from Oxford University in 1979 after studying the Foreign Service Programme and was the first head of Oman's football federation in the early 80s.

Tariq Al-Said often played an important diplomatic role representing Oman abroad and welcoming Britain’s Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, for example, upon their arrival to the country for a visit in 2016.

(With agencies)


Tunisia arrests over 600, deploys troops after riots

Tunisia arrests over 600, deploys troops after riots
Updated 18 January 2021

Tunisia arrests over 600, deploys troops after riots

Tunisia arrests over 600, deploys troops after riots
  • The unrest came after Tunisia imposed a nationwide lockdown to stem a rise in coronavirus infections on Thursday

TUNIS: More than 600 people have been arrested and troops have been deployed after a third consecutive night of riots in several Tunisian cities, officials said Monday.
The unrest came after Tunisia imposed a nationwide lockdown to stem a rise in coronavirus infections on Thursday — the same day as it marked the 10th anniversary of dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali’s fall from power.
Interior ministry spokesman Khaled Hayouni said a total of 877 people were arrested, notably “groups of people between the ages of 15, 20 and 25 who burned tires and bins in order to block movements by the security forces.”
Defense ministry spokesman Mohamed Zikri meanwhile said the army has deployed reinforcements in several areas of the country.
Hayouni said that some of those arrested lobbed stones at police and clashed with security forces.
“This has nothing to do with protest movements that are guaranteed by the law and the constitution,” said Hayouni.
“Protests take place in broad daylight normally... without any criminal acts involved,” he added.
Hayouni said two policemen were wounded in the unrest.
It was not immediately clear if there were injuries among the youths and Hayouni did not say what charges those arrested faced.
The clashes took place in several cities across Tunisia, mostly in working-class neighborhoods, with the exact reasons for the disturbances not immediately known.
But it came as many Tunisians are increasingly angered by poor public services and a political class that has repeatedly proved unable to govern coherently a decade on from the 2011 revolution.
GDP shrank by nine percent last year, consumer prices have spiralled and one third of young people are unemployed.
The key tourism sector, already on its knees after a string of deadly jihadist attacks in 2015, has been dealt a devastating blow by the pandemic.
Tunisia has registered more than 177,000 coronavirus infections, including over 5,600 deaths since the pandemic erupted last year.
The four-day lockdown ended on Sunday night, but it was not immediately know if other restrictions would be imposed.


The army has deployed troops in Bizerte in the north, Sousse in the east and Kasserine and Siliana in central Tunisia, the defense ministry spokesman said.
Sousse, a coastal resort overlooking the Mediterranean, is a magnet for foreign holidaymaking that has been hit hard by the pandemic.
The health crisis and ensuing economic misery have pushed growing numbers of Tunisians to seek to leave the country.
On Sunday evening in Ettadhamen, a restive working-class neighborhood on the edge of the Tunisian capital, the mood was sombre.
“I don’t see any future here,” said Abdelmoneim, a waiter, as the unrest unfolded around him.
He blamed the violence on the country’s post-revolution political class and said the rioting youths were “bored adolescents” who reflected the “failure” of politicians.
Abdelmoneim said he was determined to take a boat across the Mediterranean to Europe “as soon as possible, and never come back to this miserable place.”
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