Syria and Oman sign visa-free travel deal for diplomats and special passport holders

Foreign ministers signed the agreement at a meeting discussing bilateral relations

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Oman and Syria agreed on Sunday to offer reciprocal visa-free entry to people with diplomatic, special and service passports.

The agreement came a day after Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad arrived in Muscat for talks with his Omani counterpart, Sayyid Al Busaidi.

“The good bilateral relations between the sultanate and Syria were reviewed, and aspects of existing co-operation between them were discussed in a way that serves the common interests of the two brotherly countries and people,” a statement released by Oman News Agency said.

In line with its foreign policy model of co-operation and neutrality, the sultanate normalised ties with Syria last year, becoming the first Gulf nation to do so.

In October, Oman sent Turki Al Busaidi, its newly appointed ambassador to Syria, to Damascus. Muscat withdrew his predecessor in 2012.

From the start of Syria’s conflict, Oman has taken few diplomatic actions against Damascus. It has preferring to work towards ending the war with negotiation, a trend other Arab nations have started to follow.

Last week, the UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed called for Syria to be readmitted to the Arab League a decade after the country’s expulsion. This call was echoed by Iraqi Foreign Minster Fuad Hussein and his Egyptian counterpart, Sameh Shoukry.

The pan-Arab body resumed some of its activities in Syria last month.

Mr Mekdad is meeting several ministers on his trip to the sultanate.

On Saturday he visited the National Museum, where he viewed a book on seamanship by Omani navigator Ahmad bin Majid Al Saadi. It was lent to Oman for restoration by Al Assad National Library in Damascus, the Syrian state news agency Sana reported.