Oman will not normalise ties with Israel: FM
Oman's foreign minister has shut down speculation that the kingdom is next in line to normalise relations with Israel and reaffirmed his country's commitment to a two-state solution in light of Israel's latest aggressions against Palestinians.
"Oman believes in the principle of achieving a just, comprehensive and lasting peace on the basis of the two-state solution," minister Sayyid Badr bin Hamad al-Busaidi told the London-based Saudi paper Asharq Al-Awsat.
"This is the only option affirmed by the Arab Peace Initiative and international legitimacy," he said.
"We are with the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people and we respect the sovereign decisions of states, just as we expect others to respect our sovereign decisions," he added.
Oman has resisted calls to re-establish ties with Israel after several Gulf states, including the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain normalised relations last year under US-brokered accords.
In line with official Arab League position, Oman does not officially recognise Israel, and took part in its boycott of during much of the 20th century. In 1994, the countries established unofficial trade relations, which were discontinued in 2000.
Last month Busaidi spoke by phone to Israel’s Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, according to state agency ONA. He said he hoped Israel’s new government will take "concrete steps" towards creating an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.
Last year, there was speculations in Israeli press that Oman and Sudan were in the process of holding US-brokered talks with Israel to announce respective peace deals.
While Sudan agreed to normalise relations in October 2020, efforts to bring Oman into the fold have thus been in vain.
The biggest opposition to normalisation is Israel’s continued expansion of illegal settlements and its chronic violence against Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza.
The Palestinians have been vocal in their opposition to the agreements, arguing such decisions remove any incentive for Israel to end its occupation of the Palestinian territories.
In 2018 Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Oman and discussed peace initiatives in the Middle East with then-Omani leader Sultan Qaboos.