Pompeo ends Mideast trip with visit to Oman's new sultan

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Sultan Haitham bin Tariq (R) receives US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (C) at Al-Barakah Palace in the capital Muscat. (AFP)
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Above, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo upon his arrival in Oman. (@SecPompeo Twitter)
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Sultan Haitham bin Tariq (L) receives US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at Al-Barakah Palace in the capital Muscat. (AFP)
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Updated 27 August 2020

Pompeo ends Mideast trip with visit to Oman's new sultan

  • Oman News Agency described Pompeo's trip as “a short visit to the sultanate"
  • Pompeo already traveled to Israel, Sudan, Bahrain and the UAE on this trip through the Mideast

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.


No Middle East peace without solving ‘Palestinian problem,’ says Russia

Updated 18 September 2020

No Middle East peace without solving ‘Palestinian problem,’ says Russia

  • Kremlin observes ‘progress’ in the normalization of ties in the region

MOSCOW: Russia said it would be a “mistake” to think of peace in the Middle East without resolving the Palestinian issue.

The Foreign Ministry statement came on Thursday after Israel normalized relations with long-time foes Bahrain and the UAE at the White House on Tuesday.

Russia said it noted “progress” in the normalization of ties between Israel and several Arab countries but said that “the Palestinian problem remains acute.” 

“It would be a mistake to think that without finding a solution to it that it will be possible to secure lasting stabilization in the Middle East.” 

Moscow urged regional and global players to “ramp up coordinated efforts” to solve the issue. 

“Russia is ready for such joint work,” including in the framework of the diplomatic Quartet of Middle East peace negotiators and in close coordination with the Arab League, the Foreign Ministry said. 

US President Donald Trump has said similar US-brokered deals are close between the Jewish state and several other nations. 

Bahrain and the UAE are the first Arab nations to establish relations with Israel since Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994. 

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas said on Tuesday that only an Israeli withdrawal from its occupied territories could bring peace to the Middle East.