Omanis hail ties with Emirati brothers and sisters

Neighbouring countries share warm ties stretching back decades

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Omanis have reflected on their close ties and friendship with the Emirates as President Sheikh Mohamed begins a two day visit to Muscat.

The two peoples benefit from trade, common language and shared customs.

And many Omanis and Emiratis, particularly along the shared border, have married over the years.

Mohammed Al Akhzemi, 25, Omani living in Muscat. Ali AlShouk / The National

“We are one nation and neighbours," said Omani Mohammed Al Akhzemi in Muscat.

“Our relation with UAE is eternal. Welcome Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed.”

Omani businesswoman Maisa Al Hooti highlighted the historical and economic ties between the two Gulf countries.

She told The National that the UAE was an “important, strategic partnership in trade and economy for Oman” and that Sheikh Mohamed's visit would “boost the joint work in developing different sectors”.

Maisa Al Hooti, Omani businesswoman, Muscat, Oman. Ali AlShouk / The National

The UAE accounts for 8 per cent of Oman's annual exports.

Ms Al Hooti said: “There is a deep historical relationship between Oman and the UAE, reinforced by ties of blood and heritage. We share close cultural habits and even family relations.”

'Family affair'

The neighbouring countries share a long history, in which cultural and social relationships have resulted in similar customs.

Omanis and Emiratis living in border towns say cross-border marriages are not uncommon.

“I am married to an Emirati woman and we share three children.” Omani resident Mohammed Al Kaabi, 43, told The National. “But we are not the only couple to do so. Many others, especially in the towns near the borders of the two countries, do that all the time.”

Mr Al Kaabi and his Emirati wife live in Al Buraimi, a town on the border with Abu Dhabi.

His wife’s family are from Al Ain.

“As we know that Oman and the UAE was one country before the British separated them in the Trucial Coast treaty in 1892, that separated families. So intermarriage is to keep up with the old family ties,” said Nasser Al Shaibany, a Muscat businessman married to an Emirati woman born in Dubai.

More than 424,000 Emiratis visited Oman in 2021, up from 392,000 the previous year, official statistics show. About 640,000 Omanis crossed the border or flew to the UAE last year, up by 33 per cent from 2020.

Ibrahim Al Belooshi, 30 Omani merchant. Ali AlShouk / The National

Omani merchant Ibrahim Al Beloosh spoke of the strong commercial bonds between the UAE and Oman.

“I have a shop in Souq Mattrah, where thousands of tourists come from UAE — Emiratis and UAE residents cross the borders and stop by to shop,” he said.

Oman and the UAE this year inaugurated a border crossing in Hatta to make travel by road between the two countries easier.

Omanis and Emiratis do not need passports when they travel to each other’s countries, only their national IDs.

Updated: September 27, 2022, 5:33 PM