Netanyahu and delegation held surprise meeting with Sultan Qaboos bin Said in Oman; PM confirms meeting centered on peace process and joint interest regarding the achievement of peace and stability in the Middle East; Oman: Maybe it is time for Israel to be treated the same…
The announcement was made by Oman’s Sultan Qaboos bin Said during a surprise visit by Prime Minister Netanyahu and Mossad Director Yossi Cohen to Muscat on Friday. Netanyahu was invited by the Sultan, the first visit of an Israeli official to Oman since 1996, after “lengthy contacts between the two countries”. Former Israeli President and Prime Minister, Shimon Peres, was the last Israeli official to visit Oman.
Netanyahu’s delegation, which also included Israel’s Security Council Director Meir Ben-Shabbat, Military Secretary, Brig.-Gen. Avi Bluth and Foreign Ministry Director General Yuval Rotem met with the Sultan and Omani officials on Friday. Their meeting with the Sultan centered on “ways to advance the peace process in the Middle East as well as several matters of joint interest regarding the achievement of peace and stability in the Middle East”.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas met the Sultan two days before Netanyahu’s delegation.
Prime Minister Netanyahu confirmed his meeting, stating following “I returned to Israel today after an official visit to Oman, where I met with Sultan Qaboos bin Said, the ruler of Oman. My wife and I were invited to visit by Sultan Qaboos bin Said, the ruler of Oman, after long negotiations between the two countries, the first since 1996.” Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Office released a statement on the visit, referring to the historic moment as a “significant step in implementing the policy outlined by Prime Minister Netanyahu on deepening relations with the states of the region while leveraging Israel’s advantages in security, technology and economic matters.”
Oman’s Foreign Minister Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah defended Oman’s call for recognition of the State of Israel. Speaking to Middle Eastern leadership at a security conference in Bahrain on Saturday, he stated “Israel is a state present in the region and we all understand this. The world is also aware of this and maybe it is time for Israel to be treated the same [as other states] and to also bear the same obligations… We should consider giving equal treatment to Israel among the other countries in the Middle East. Jews are part of history that touches Islam and the existence of the State of Israel is a fact that should not be ignored…”
President Trump’s Middle East Envoy, Jason Greenblat, welcomed the historic decision, referring to it as “a helpful step for our peace efforts & essential to create an atmosphere of stability, security & prosperity between Israelis, Palestinians & their neighbors. Looking forward to seeing more meetings like this!”
As Israel continues its process of normalization with the Arab world, Jordan confirmed over the weekend that the recent cancellation of land leases for Naharayim and Tzofar are not a sign of deteriorating relations with Israel. Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi stated over the weekend, “[Jordan] acted within the provisions of the peace treaty. This is an indication of our commitment to the peace treaty,” adding “there has never been a question of our solid commitment to the treaty.”
Amir will give a Facebook LIVE Q&A from Israel on Monday, Oct. 29, 2018. Tune in at 9:00 pm Israel time! We will add the update to our Youtube channel following.
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