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.
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.