Oman’s Foreign Minister Sayyid Badr bin Hamad bin Hamood Al Busaidi said in an interview released on Saturday that his country will not be the third Gulf nation to normalize ties with Israel when asked about a recent call with Foreign Minister Yair Lapid. .
In the interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, an Arab-daily London letter, Busaidi also reaffirmed his country’s support for “achieving a just, comprehensive and lasting peace based on the two-state solution”, adding that “this is the only option. ”
“We support the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, and we respect the sovereign decisions of states, just as we expect others to respect our sovereign decisions,”
He made the comments in response to a question about his recent call with Lapid – this conversation was announced last month by Omani state media, who said the minister told Lapid that he hoped Israel’s new government would take steps to create a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.
Lapid has cut off regional ties and made a trip to the United Arab Emirates to open an embassy and consulate last week, while Foreign Ministry Director General Alon Ushpiz flew to Morocco on Tuesday for meetings. On Thursday, Lapid met with his Jordanian counterpart Ayman Safadi at the Allenby Bridge border crossing, their first meeting since Lapid became Israel’s top diplomat last month with the entry of Israel’s new government.
There have already been signs in recent years that Israel and Oman were closer to each other. The administration of US President Joe Biden has said it hopes to extend the Abraham Accords initiated by the former Trump administration, facilitating the normalization of ties between Arab countries and Israel.
Oman has long been hailed as one of the next countries that could potentially forge diplomatic ties with the Jewish state. It expressed its support for the Israel-UAE standardization agreement the day after it was announced last year, and was also quick to welcome Israel’s ties with Bahrain.
Oman is an important interlocutor between the West and Iran, as well as Yemen’s Houthi rebels, helping to get prisoners released earlier.
At the time, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Oman in 2018, the first trip by an Israeli leader in over two decades, in what was seen as a sign of warming ties between the Jewish state and the Sunni Arab world.
He was at the time hosting Sultan Qaboos bin Said, who died last year and was succeeded by his cousin Haitham bin Tariq Al Said, who appears to have continued his openness to Israel.
Since then, however, Oman has been in a difficult transition period as the new sultan confronts a serious economic situation.
Meanwhile, Oman is trying to bring the next round of negotiations between Iran and Saudi Arabia to the capital Muscat, The Times of Israel has learned, which had previously been hailed as a promising sign for Israel and the potential of the sultanate to join Abraham. Agreements.
Talks in Muscat suggest that Oman is regaining its traditional role as a neutral mediator and coming out of its shell after Bin Said’s death and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lazar Berman contributed to this report.