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Netanyahu Is 1st Israeli Leader To Visit Oman Since 90s

28 October 2018

Netanyahu was accompanied on Friday by senior officials, including the head of the Mossad intelligence agency and his national security adviser.

The joint statement issued at the end of the visit, from which the Prime Minister's Office did not directly quote, said the meetings featured talks 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".

Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia's powerful crown prince, met several Jewish groups and pro-Israel lobbies during a trip to the USA earlier this year and declared that Israel had the right to its own land alongside Palestinians.

The United States is reportedly looking to forge a security alliance with Arab nations to function as a so-called "Arab NATO" in a bid to counter Iran's growing clout in the Middle East.

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"Israel is a state present in the region, and we all understand this", bin Alawi said.

Despite being a member of the Gulf Cooperation Council, Oman has not joined the Saudi-led boycott of Qatar or its military intervention in Yemen.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made an unannounced visit to Oman, an Arab state with which Israel has no diplomatic ties, and met with Sultan Qaboos.

Netanyahu has on several occasions hinted at warmer ties with Gulf states. Unlike many Arab states, Oman has also maintained relations with Syria. A month later, a rare meeting at the White House brought together officials from Oman, the UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Israel to discuss the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip.

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Oman's foreign minister visited Israel in 1995.

Oman closed the trade representative offices in October 2000 after the outbreak of the second Palestinian intifada.

Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, the president of the Houthi Supreme Revolutionary Committee (SRC), made the remarks in a tweet on Saturday, adding that the real goal of the Israeli premier's trip to Muscat "is to isolate Oman from playing any positive role in the future with its allies and friends".

Meanwhile, Israel's Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev on Friday arrived in the UAE for the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam Judo tournament in which Israel's national team is competing.

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Netanyahu Is 1st Israeli Leader To Visit Oman Since 90s