Oman's Sultan Haitham to visit Saudi Arabia in first official trip

The two countries have enjoyed growing bilateral trade in recent years

FILE PHOTO: Sultan Haitham bin Tariq al-Said gives a speech after being sworn in before the royal family council in Muscat, Oman January 11, 2020.  REUTERS/Sultan Al Hasani/File Photo
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Oman's ruler Sultan Haitham will visit Saudi Arabia on Sunday, his first official visit to another country since he became Sultan of Oman in January last year.

He is due to meet Saudi Arabia's King Salman, with discussions expected to focus on strengthening co-operation in a wide range of sectors, said Sayeed Faisal Bin Turki Al Saeed, Oman’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

The ambassador hailed “the profound bilateral relations and concordance between the Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030 and Oman's Vision 2040,” reported the official Saudi Press Agency.

Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 was announced in 2016 by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The project is a wide-ranging strategy focused on diversifying government revenues across multiple sectors, including tourism and the tech industry, building economic resilience, green energy resources and digital government services.

In December, Prince Mohammed said the success of Vision 2030 in its first five years was partly based on having pragmatic foreign relations.

“It is based on our interests,” Prince Mohammed said. “The majority of investments have come through the fact that our interests have aligned with the international community.”

Oman’s Vision 2040, which was drawn up under rule of the late Sultan Qaboos, also aims to advance multiple sectors of the economy.

The strategic document outlines a plan to build a “diversified and sustainable national economy; ensure fair distribution of development gains among governorates; and protect the nation’s natural resources and unique environment”.

Both strategies also make the preservation of cultural identity, the environment and heritage a central part of their economic diversification plans.

Prince Mohammed has said that Vision 2030 aims to make Saudi Arabia “a tolerant country with Islam as its constitution and moderation as its method”.

Of Oman’s Vision 2040, Sultan Haitham has described how the vision “builds on the principles of citizenship and genuine Omani identity to modernise the educational ecosystem, support scientific research and innovation and develop healthcare regulations and services”.

The visit comes as both countries face the challenge of combating new strains of Covid-19, including the Delta variant that was identified in India in the spring.

Last week, Oman’s health ministry said that more than 22 per cent of the population had received two doses of vaccine.

The percentage of Saudi citizens who had received at least one vaccine dose was approaching 55 per cent last week.

On Friday, Saudi Arabia's Food and Drug Authority approved Moderna's vaccine for use in the kingdom, the state news agency said, alongside Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines currently in use.

Updated: July 26, 2021, 1:09 PM