Saturday, May 8, 2021

World leaders gather in Oman to mourn Sultan Qaboos


Dubai: World and regional leaders met Oman's new ruler on Sunday to offer condolences on the death of Sultan Qaboos bin Said whose quiet diplomacy during five decades in power helped calm regional turbulence.

The rulers of Qatar and the United Arab Emirates were among those who visited the royal palace in Muscat as was the foreign minister of Iran.

Sultan Haitham bin Tariq Al Said, Oman's new ruler, promised after assuming power on Saturday to uphold the foreign policy of his predecessor.

Sultan Qaboos, who died on Friday aged 79, managed to maintain Oman's neutrality and helped to mediate secret US-Iran talks in 2013 that led to an international nuclear pact two years later which Washington then quit in 2018.

President Donald Trump called Qaboos a true partner to the United States, working with nine different American presidents.

"His unprecedented efforts to engage in dialogue and achieve peace in the region showed us the importance of listening to all viewpoints," Trump said in a statement.

The British government said Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Prince Charles arrived in Muscat for the condolences ceremony for the longest-serving Arab leader. Among other Western dignitaries was former French president Nicolas Sarkozy.

Kuwait's 90-year-old Amir Shaikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah was also in Muscat on Sunday to offer his condolences.