Israeli Foreign Minister Discusses Mideast Peace in Phone Call With Omani Counterpart

Omani foreign ministry statement says that the two countries discussed regional developments and Israel-Palestinian peace, and that Oman also spoke to a senior Fatah official on the Palestinian issue

Noa Landau
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Yusuf bin Alawi, foreign minister of Oman, meets with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus, July 7, 2019.
Yusuf bin Alawi, foreign minister of Oman, meets with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus, July 7, 2019.Credit: SANA / AP
Noa Landau

Oman's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah, spoke over the phone with Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, the Omani Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Monday.

According to the Omani ministry's Twitter account, the two discussed regional developments, and Oman reiterated its commitment to a "comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East." They also discussed the necessity of resuming negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, "to fulfill the legitimate demands of the Palestinian people to establish their independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital," the tweet said.

On his own Twitter account, Ashkenazi said that he and bin Alawi also discussed the normalization agreement that Israel has reached with the United Arab Emirates and the need to strengthen ties between the countries. The two agreed at the end of the call to keep in direct and sustained contact and to continue the dialogue between the two states "to promote a normalization process in the Middle East," Ashkenazi added.

"This conversation is the direct continuation to the conversation I had yesterday with my Emirati counterpart, Foreign Minister Sheikh Abudlah bin Zayed.

The Omani minister also spoke to Jibril Rajoub, secretary general of the central committee of the Palestinian Fatah group who, the Omani ministry's tweet says, expressed the Palestinians' "appreciation and reassurance of the Sultane and its balanced and wise policy towards Arab matters," and particularly the Palestinian issue.

In 2018, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Oman, and met with then-Sultan Qaboos bin Said. Netanyahu's office said that the two discussed "ways to promote a peace process" and "subjects of mutual interest for achieving peace and stability in the Middle East. Israel does not have official relations with Oman, but former Prime Ministers Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres have visited the Gulf state.

Oman, along with Bahrain, is expected to be among the next countries to follow the United Arab Emirates in striking a normalization agreement with Israel. At a White House press briefing following the announcement of the UAE-Israel deal on Thursday, U.S. officials named it as the next country likely to normalize ties.

Over the next few weeks, Israel and the UAE are expected to discuss the details of bilateral agreements on topics including investment, agriculture, direct flights, security, telecommunications, technology, energy, health care, culture and the environment. The parties will also discuss the establishment of reciprocal embassies.

There are already secret offices representing Israeli interests in the Gulf, but in his statement on the treaty Thursday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced “the establishment of a full and formal peace” that “includes the mutual opening of embassies and the exchange of ambassadors.” Senior White House advisor Jared Kushner, who led the efforts to obtain the agreement, also said the deal involves embassies in both countries.

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