Oman, Touted as Next in Line for Normalization, Welcomes Bahrain-Israel Deal

In this Friday, Oct. 26, 2018 file photo, released by Oman News Agency, Oman's Sultan Qaboos, left, receives Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Muscat, Oman. A surprise visit to Oman by Netanyahu over the weekend appears to have opened the floodgates for a series of appearances by senior Israeli …
Oman News Agency via AP, File

Oman on Sunday welcomed the normalization deal between Bahrain and Israel, saying it hopes it will contribute to peace throughout the region, state media reported.

“The Sultanate welcomes the initiative taken by the Kingdom of Bahrain within the framework of its sovereign rights and the Tripartite Joint Declaration on Relations with Israel,” said a statement published by Oman state television.

President Donald Trump on Friday announced Israel and the Gulf kingdom of Bahrain had agreed to establish full diplomatic relations, weeks after a similar deal was struck with the United Arab Emirates.

“The Sultanate hopes that this new strategic direction, chosen by some Arab countries, will be a practical tributary toward achieving peace based on ending the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and establishing an independent Palestine with its capital in East Jerusalem,” the statement read, adding:

This embodies the principle of the two states as stipulated in Arab and international charters and decisions, and at the same time reflects the aspirations and demands of all countries and peoples that love a just, comprehensive and lasting peace in the Middle East and in the whole world.

Oman has maintained a delicate balance of ties with both the West — including the U.S. — and Iran.

In October 2018, the Sultanate became the first Arab Gulf country to openly invite Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the behest of late Sultan Qaboos bin Said, who the Israeli leader later eulogized as a “noble man.”

The Bahrain deal was also hailed by the UAE, which will ink its own deal with Israel at a White House ceremony this week hosted by Trump and attended by Netanyahu and Emirati Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyanon.

“Congratulations to the Kingdom of Bahrain and Israel on their decision to establish full diplomatic relations. Today marks another significant and historic achievement which will contribute enormously to the stability and prosperity of the region,” tweeted Hend al-Otaiba, the director of strategic communications at the UAE’s Foreign Ministry.

Saudi Arabia was notably silent but it is unlikely the deal went ahead without its consent.

Palestinian leaders condemned the normalization accord as another “stab in the back” and act of “aggression” by an Arab country, echoing sentiments expressed after the announcement of the UAE-Israel deal.



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