Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Israeli and Omani Foreign Ministers meet in Qatar

Something you certainly won't be reading in Oman's local papers it seems is the meeting yesterday between Oman's Foreign Affairs Minister Yousef bin Alawi and the Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni. They met at her hotel in Doha, Qatar.

These are the first official talks since 2000, although it was reported they met at a secret meeting on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York in September 2006.

Although the meeting has been widely reported across the world, including other Gulf papers, the item is conspicuous by its total absence in the all local Omani press, both English and Arabic.

It looks to me like the meeting was indeed no big deal. The Yahoo article indicates the Omani Minister played it down and described it as an opportunity for them to both listen to each other, but that Oman still disagreed with the Israelis on, well, probably about everything, and there were no plans to reopen the Israeli 'trade office' (ie an effective Israeli Embassy) in Oman. Thank goodness, given the Israeli's on-going fascist behaviour.

Article links: Yahoo news , BBC , Khaleej Times .

In the Israeli press too, Israel National News ,
In the context of the forum, Foreign Minister Livni met with her counterpart from the Gulf Emirate of Oman in what was hailed as a first-of-its-kind public encounter. Omani government officials, however, played down the meeting. An aide to Oman's Foreign Minister Yousef bin Abdullah said it was "not meant to have a result," but merely to allow Foreign Minister Livni and her counterpart to exchange views, according to the French news agency AFP.

Oman and Israel have maintained low-level diplomatic and trade relations, although the oil-rich state backs Hamas. The Omani Foreign Minister ruled out the possibility of re-opening Israeli trade office in his country, closed after the beginning of the Oslo War in 2000, until the PA is constituted as a state.

Another nice pic being printed everywhere but in Oman:


  1. Perhaps you're too young to remember that Israel had a commercial office in Muscat briefly in the 1990s when another administration was in power in Jerusalem.

    There was also a big peace conference held in Muscat in 1994, to discuss issues such as sharing water and how to improve water supplies, from which the Middle East Desalination Research Centre rose like a phoenix from the flames.

    And there have been various reports since then that the Omani FM has met Israeli ministers on the sideline of this and that conference. It's the sort of thing that diplomats do.

    Nothing really out of the ordinary.

    You need to read something like Stratfor to get a feel of just how far conspiracy theory can go.

  2. Omanis dont like talking about Oman's relationship with Israel. Its like an illicit sexual encounter between two married people that is not to be mentioned in polite company.

  3. Sue, yeah, I'm unfortunately old enough to remember that. Also when Burger King and Fudruckers hamburger joints got thrown out, the rumour at the time being because they were backed by Israeli money. Stratfor is fun, but I can't justify the money for a subscription.

    Anon. You're right. With the Omani press - pathetic that it is - the interesting bits are always what is not reported, rather than what is!


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