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Oman calls for wider recognition of Israel

Oman’s Foreign Minister, Yousouf bin Alawi, called on Middle East countries to accept Israel after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the Gulf state on Friday.

In a speech to the IISS Manama Dialogue security summit in Bahrain, Foreign Minister Alawi said: “Israel is a state present in the region, and we all understand this. The world is also aware of this and maybe it is time for Israel to be treated the same [as other states] and to also bear the same obligations.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu visited Oman last Friday at the invitation of Sultan Qaboos bin Said, to discuss regional issues. The Prime Minister’s Office said the visit was “a significant step in implementing the policy outlined by Prime Minister Netanyahu on deepening relations with the states of the region while leveraging Israel’s advantages in security, technology and economic matters”. Oman has no official diplomatic relations with Israel.

Netanyahu was joined on the visit by Mossad Director Yossi Cohen, National Security Adviser and National Security Council Director Meir Ben-Shabbat, Foreign Ministry Director General Yuval Rotem, the head of the Prime Minister’s staff, Yoav Horowitz, and the Prime Minister’s Military Secretary, Brig.-Gen. Avi Bluth. The meeting was reportedly the result of four months of work by the Mossad.

The visit came two days after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas visited Oman, which he described as “successful on all levels” in an interview on Palestinian TV.

Israel’s national anthem “Hatikvah” was played for the first time in the United Arab Emirates on Sunday after judoka Sagi Muki defeated Matthias Casse of Belgium in the Judo Grand Competition in Abu Dhabi to win the gold medal. Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein said: “It is a great feeling to hear our national anthem … played for the first time in Abu Dhabi.”

Communications Minister Ayoub Kara will visit Dubai on Tuesday for the International Telecommunications Union conference and Transport Minister Yisrael Katz will visit Oman this week to attend the IRU World Congress and present his proposal for a regional railway linking Israel with Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states.