foreign policy Oman's foreign policy is based on a clearly-defined set
of principles that encourage the building of bridges with other nations
and, wherever possible, the opening up of opportunities for increased
The Sultanate has sought to play a constructive and influential role in
the international arena, applying principles which form the basis of
international law and legitimacy, such as respect for sovereignty,
noninterference in the internal affairs of other states, a commitment to
good neighbourly relations and the resolution of all differences and
disputes by peaceful means.
By fostering peace, security, stability and confidence at home and with
its neighbours, Oman's foreign policy has evolved to become an instrument
for promoting economic and social development.
The Sultanate enjoys a special relationship with its fellow Arab
Gulf Co-operation Council (AGCC) member states ( Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar,
Saudi Arabia and the UAE), with which it shares strong traditional ties.
The AGCC Supreme Council's advisory body is based
in Muscat and the country enjoys the trust and respect of other
The Sultanate is a staunch and active champion of Gulf identity and
citizenship, it welcomes the increased co-operation between the AGCC
member states and the Republic of Yemen, and enjoys excellent relations
with its neighbour, the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Sultan Qaboos attended the 26th Arab Gulf Co-operation Council Summit in
Abu Dhabi on 18 and 19 December 2005 - the "Fahd Summit"- and earlier in
the year visited Abu Dhabi and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates
followed by the State of Qatar in May, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and
the State of Kuwait in June.
Visitors to the Sultanate included Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed, President
of the UAE, in January 2005, and HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al
Maktoum, UAE Vice-President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai on two
occasions. HH Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, Emir of the State of
Qatar, in March, and HH Sheikh Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Bahrain's
Crown Prince and General Commander of Bahrain's Defence Forces in
November 2005.HM King Hamad bin Issa al Khalifa of Bahrain visited on
1/1/2006 and on 21/05/2006 HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed al Nahyan, the
UAE's Deputy Prime Minister arrived to meet His Majesty.
Oman's Deputy Prime Minister for the Council of Ministers, Sayyid Fahd
bin Mahmoud Al Said, attended the 8th AGCC Consultative Summit in Riyadh
on 6th May 2006, while Sayyid As'ad bin Tariq Al Said, attended the
third extraordinary Islamic Summit in Makkah on 8 December 2005.
There were a number of exchange visits between the Sultanate and the
AGCC states, the Republic of Yemen and the Islamic Republic of Iran,
during which views were exchanged on a range of bilateral, Gulf,
regional, and other issues. The Sultanate opened a Consulate in the
Saudi city of Jeddah in 2006, to reinforce the close and growing
relationship between Oman and the Kingdom.
Arab world relations
The Sultanate supports joint Arab action through the Arab League and
initiatives to improve the League's performance and make it more
effective. At the same time it attaches great importance to developing
its own relations with other Arab states, whether bilaterally or
collectively, and joint committees between the Sultanate and various
other Arab countries play an important part in promoting this agenda.
In working for peace and stability in the Arab region, Oman strongly
backs the Palestinian people's efforts to gain their legitimate rights
and gives wholehearted support to their efforts in the regional and
international arenas. It condemns Israel's repressive practices, which
increase tension in the Occupied Territories, and calls for the
implementation of international resolutions and the establishment of an
independent Palestinian state. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas
visited Muscat in December 2004 and Khalid Mashaal, head of the Hamas
movement's political office, visited in April 2006.
With regard to developments in Iraq, the Sultanate supports the current
political process there, which aims to achieve the stability necessary
to enable the new Iraqi government to achieve national unity and
territorial integrity. The Sultanate supports all efforts to rebuild the
country and bring its' people relief from suffering.
King Abdullah 11 bin al Hussein of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
visited the Sultanate in March 2005 and Sultan Qaboos visited the Arab
Republic of Egypt in May the same year.
The Sultanate received visits
from Tunisian Prime Minister Mohammed al Ghannoushi in September 2005
and Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Seniora in December. There were also
numerous additional exchange visits at ministerial and other levels.
HH The Deputy Prime Minister for the Council of Ministers and his
delegation attended the 18th Arab Summit which was held in Khartoum,
Sudan on 28/03/2006.
The Sultanate hosted a range of activities, including Arab economic,
cultural, tourism, scientific and art forums, as part of its "Muscat -
Arab Culture Capital 2006" programme, where Muscat was able to showcase
some of the country's most dazzling cultural treasures.
The Sultanate believes it is essential to maintain contacts and
dialogue with other states and peoples for the sake of continued mutual
understanding and co-operation. It supports all sincere efforts to
develop closer relations or resolve differences through dialogue and
within the context of international law and legitimacy, believing the
establishment of peace and stability can best be achieved through
tolerance and recognition of common interests.
This is the inspiration behind Oman's active role in the United Nations
and international organisations such as UNESCO, the World Health
Organisation (WHO) and the World Trade Organisation (WTO), which Oman
joined some years ago. It can also be seen in its extensive diplomatic
relations with countries around the world.
Oman was unanimously elected by UNESCO's executive council to chair the
33rd session of the organisation's General Conference in Paris, attended
by all 191 member states, in October 2005, when Sultan Qaboos gave a
statement to the Conference.
The Sultanate was also represented at the United Nations World Summit in
September 2005 where in a prepared speech, the government in Muscat
reaffirmed its rejection of terrorism and confirmed its belief that the
time had come to: "implement an international strategy for the
prevention of terrorism, based on co-operation and exchanges of
information between states." It was, the speech noted, essential to
"differentiate between the legitimate right of self-defence and
resistance to aggression, and outright acts of terror."
The Sultanate also emphasised the importance of upgrading the UN's
organisations and institutions to all make them more effective in
serving member states and in responding to the changing international
situation. This process, it stressed, should be "continuous and
International visitors to Oman, either to renew old acquaintances and
friendships or to learn more about the country and its leadership,
included former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder (March 2005),
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAFA) Director-General Dr.Mohammed
EI Baradei, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (September),
Dutch Prime Minister Dr. Jan Peter Balkenende (14/11/05), US
Vice-President Dick Cheney (20/12/05), Dr Frank Steinmeier, Foreign
Minister of Germany and his delegation (21/05/06) and Spanish Foreign
Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos in the same month.. Diplomatic relations
were established with Uruguay in November 2005 and with the Central
American Republic of Belize in March 2006.
The economic dimensions of foreign policy
The Sultanate enjoys cordial relations with numerous countries
around the world, its long history of trade links with other peoples,
from China in the east to the United States in the west, is as relevant
today as it was centuries ago. For Oman, these links have long been a
determining factor in forming internal policies as well as executing its
role in the regional and international arenas.
The Sultanate enthusiastically supports the Greater Arab Free Trade
Organisation, its growing relations and co-operation with the Islamic
Republic of Iran, and its continuing efforts to promote greater
co-operation between member states of the Indian Ocean Rim Association
for Regional Cooperation (IORARCI), as well as with the United States;
negotiations on a Free Trade Agreement between the Sultanate and the US
have now been completed and the Agreement, due to be signed before the
end of 2006, will open up further opportunities for the Omani economy.
Such developments have attracted an increasing flow of investment from
the region and beyond, which, in turn, has funded several major
industrial projects including schemes at Sohar Industrial Estate and the
other similar industrial zones in Sur, Salalah and Nizwa. Some of these
projects are already up and running, helping to generate greater
prosperity for Omani citizens.
Asian, East and Central African relations
Oman's relations with the countries of Asia and East and Central
Africa go back a long way. The Indian Ocean was Oman's gateway to these
regions centuries ago, when business between the indigenous populations
and visiting Omani traders was brisk and lucrative. Today, those
friendly relations have been renewed and, responding to the demands of
globalisation, continue to blossom, serving mutual economic interests.
The Sultanate played a major role in setting up the Indian Ocean Rim
Association for Regional Co-operation (IORARC) in 1997 and actively
supports measures to promote economic co-operation between member
states, particularly in trade, tourism, the sciences, marine transport
and fisheries. The Association's Fisheries Support Unit was established
in Muscat in 2005.
Oman joined the "Asian Co-operation Dialogue" in 2003 and signed a
declaration on a new partnership strategy between Asian and African
states on 22/4/2005.
Diplomatic relations were established between the Sultanate and the Laos
People's Democratic Republic on 9 March 2005 and diplomatic
representation with the Republic of' Afghanistan was raised to embassy
level on 25 March of the same year. Several exchange visits took place
between Oman and Asian states during 2005, including visits to the
Sultanate by Pakistan's Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz in March, Thailand's
Prime Minister Dr.Thaksin Shinawatra in April, and the Azerbaijani
Foreign Minister, Elmar Mammadyarov in the same month. The South Korean
Prime Minister, Lee Hac-chan, visited in November. In March 2006 Pranab
Mukherjee, India's Defence Minister had the honour of an Audience with
The Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party Committee of Guangdong
province, Mr. Zhang Dejiang, visited in June.
In September 2005, Oman's Deputy Prime Minister for the Council of
Ministers, and a highlevel delegation, made a tour of Asia, visiting
Thailand, South Korea and China, with the aim of strengthening relations
and expanding bilateral co-operation with those countries. The Gulf
Indian Businessmen's Conference was subsequently held in Muscat, where
the Muscat Declaration was issued on 26 March 2006, detailing plans to
promote co-operation initiatives between businessmen in the AGGC states
and their Indian counterparts.
Oman's relations with East and Central Africa, which date back hundreds
of years, continue to flourish; the Sultanate enjoys extensive ties with
numerous countries in that region, including Tanzania, South Africa,
Mauritius, Senegal, Ethiopia, Kenya, Zambia and others. These ties
enable Oman to play a positive role in African affairs and to help open
new horizons for even closer future relationships.
Oman enjoys good relations with over 140 countries around the globe and
is a member of over 105 regional and international organisations.
The Council of Oman
The state institutions
The Basic Law