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Omani foreign minister meets Abbas

Oman’s foreign affairs minister visits Ramallah, gives PA chairman letter about Netanyahu's visit to the sultanate

Nov 03

11:12
2018

Oman’s foreign affairs minister on Wednesday met Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas and delivered a letter about Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's surprise visit to the Gulf sultanate last week.

The minister, Yusuf bin Alawi, gave Abbas the letter from Oman's Sultan Qaboos. It provided no further details on their discussions in Ramallah. Last Friday, Netanyahu visited Oman, marking the first time since 1996 that an Israeli Prime Minister has visited the country.

The visit was criticized by the Arab world, but the foreign minister dismissed the criticism, saying that other nations in the region should weigh treating the Jewish State as an equal.

"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," said the Omani official.

Frozen peace efforts with the PA have been obstacles to Israeli attempts to win official recognition from countries in the region. But there has long been talk of under-the-radar contacts, particularly regarding Iran, which is the enemy both of Israel and Gulf states.

Following Netanyahu’s visit to Oman, an unnamed PA official said that the sultan of Oman had offered to play a role in mediating talks between Israel and the PA.

The US has been working on peace plan for Israel and the PA, but has rejected US attempts to restart peace talks with Israel and has been boycotting the US ever since Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital last December.