Saudi Arabia and Oman establish joint co-operation council

Sultan Haitham concludes first visit to kingdom as Omani leader

Saudi Arabia and Oman agreed on Monday to establish a joint co-ordination council as Sultan Haitham concluded a historic two-day visit to the kingdom.

During his trip Sultan Haitham met King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and discussed measures to enhance relations between their countries.

The Sultan also invited King Salman to visit Oman, according to Omani media.

“The two sides signed a memorandum of understanding regarding the establishment of the council that will be headed by the country’s foreign ministers,” the concluding statement said.

The countries agreed to accelerate the opening of their mutual border crossings to allow citizens and residents to travel smoothly between the two states.

Last week, officials said the final phase of construction for a major motorway linking the countries was under way.

The road will stretch from Ibri in north-west Oman to the Ramlet Khelah border crossing and into Shaybah, Saudi Arabia.

Running through the largest sand desert in the world, it will slash the journey time between the countries and could boost trade and tourism.

Officials from both sides will now work on finalising several “agreements to enhance their co-operation in various economic, commercial, investment, security, cultural, diplomatic and educational fields,” the statement said.

On international issues, Riyadh and Muscat agreed to work together “in a manner that serves their interests and support to enhance security and stability in the region and across the world,” it said.

“The two sides agreed that the only way to end the war in Yemen is through a comprehensive political solution based on the UN Security Council resolution 2216.”

Resolution 2216 calls for the Houthi rebels to withdraw from areas they have seized since 2014 and hand heavy weapons back to the government.

“The initiative made by the kingdom of Saudi Arabia to end the Yemeni crisis and alleviate the suffering ... of the Yemeni people must also continue,” the statement said.

On Iran, the two countries stressed the “importance of co-operation and dealing seriously and effectively with the Iranian nuclear file”.

The statement was drawn up on the basis of “the deep-rooted and historical brotherly ties that unite the leaderships of Saudi Arabia and Oman, and between their people, in order to strengthen bilateral relations”, it said.

Updated: July 13th 2021, 4:09 AM