Boris Johnson greets Sultan Haitham of Oman at Downing Street

The two leaders spent several hours together discussing bilateral ties

The Sultan of Oman has held a high-level meeting with Boris Johnson to discuss security and trade ties.

Sultan Haitham was welcomed by the British prime minister with a red carpet rolled out at Downing Street.

The ruler of Oman is understood to have held several hours of discussion on the Gulf state's growing security ties with Britain.

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson meets Sultan Haitham of Oman at Downing Street in London. AFP

The UK is also significantly expanding its number of armed forces in southern Oman, including using a number of tanks for training. It is also increasingly using the port of Duqm for warships and amphibious exercises.

Both countries have enduring links formed during the rule of Sultan Qaboos, who died last year.

As part of his vision for Global Britain, Mr Johnson is keen to expand trade links with the region.

A Downing Street spokesperson said: “The Prime Minister welcomed the Sultan of Oman, Haitham bin Tariq al-Said, to Downing Street today for discussions aimed at enhancing our bilateral relationship.

“He welcomed the long-standing ties between the United Kingdom and Oman and looked forward to revitalising our partnership and deepening cooperation across trade, investment and defence.

“The leaders noted the ongoing challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic and discussed efforts to boost our economic recovery, such as a new UK-Gulf Cooperation Council free trade agreement. They highlighted the investment opportunities in green and renewable technology in the UK and Oman, including in wind power and hydrogen.

“On regional security issues, the leaders discussed the continuing crisis in Yemen and the talks in Vienna to revive the Iran nuclear deal. They agreed to further strengthen our defence and security cooperation, recognising the strategic importance of the Duqm base in Oman for the UK.

“The Prime Minister and Sultan Haitham committed to continue working closely together, looking ahead to a potential UK-GCC summit in 2022.”

Next Monday, Liz Truss, the Foreign Secretary, will meet GCC leaders in England to further cement trade and security ties.

On Wednesday, the sultan met Queen Elizabeth II in Windsor Castle, one of the few official audiences the 95-year-old monarch has had in recent months as she recovers from ill health.

The Omani ruler was joined by his wife, Sayyida Ahad bint Abdullah, for the meeting.

The queen's meeting with the sultan is a demonstration of the importance the UK places on its relationship with the Gulf state.

A former culture and heritage minister and educated at University of Oxford, Sultan Haitham has previously hosted Prince Charles on his official visit to Oman.

Since coming to power, the Oman ruler has conducted a diplomatic offensive to boost Oman's profile and trade links with the rest of the world.

In July, Sultan Haitham met King Salman of Saudi Arabia for his first official visit since he became the ruler. The two countries agreed to establish maritime, agricultural, industrial and logistics projects.

Oman’s Vision 2040, which was drawn up under the rule of the late Sultan Qaboos, aims to advance several

sectors of the economy.

As part of the ambitious plans, Oman expects to earn more than nine billion rials ($22.5 billion) a year from tourism by 2040 as it attempts to diversify its economy away from oil.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II poses for a photograph with the Sultan of Oman. AFP
Updated: December 16th 2021, 7:17 PM