DUBAI: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday visited Oman's new sultan, the last stop on a Mideast trip that sought to build on an American-brokered deal to have Israel and the United Arab Emirates normalize relations.
Pompeo's plane landed in Muscat and he traveled to meet Sultan Haitham bin Tariq. There, Pompeo tweeted that the two leaders spoke “on the importance of building regional peace, stability and prosperity through a united Gulf Cooperation Council.”
Oman's official news agency ONA reported that "aspects of the existing bilateral cooperation between the Sultanate and the United States were reviewed within the framework of the strong relations that bind them," but made no reference to relations with Israel.
Accompanying Sultan Haitham at the meeting was Oman's new foreign minister, Badr bin Hamad Al-Busaidi.
Sultan Haitham took power in January, following the death of longtime ruler Sultan Qaboos bin Said, who ruled Oman for 50 years. In the time since, he's focused entirely on overhauling the sultanate's government, though he said he planned to continue Oman's non-interference policy in the region. Oman for years has served as a key interlocutor between Iran and the West.
Pompeo already traveled to Israel, Sudan, Bahrain and the UAE on this trip through the Mideast, one that included him offering a recorded message in Jerusalem supporting President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign for the Republican National Convention. That speech cast aside his own advice to American diplomats to be apolitical and bulldozed a long tradition of non-partisanship by previous secretaries of state.
His trip came after a US-brokered deal announced Aug. 13 saw the United Arab Emirates and Israel open diplomatic relations. The diplomatic recognition of Israel may help the Emirates purchase advanced American weapons, such as the F-35 fighter jet.