Oman stresses diplomatic dialogue with Iran, warns on military action

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Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, right, welcomes Omani Sultan Qaboos during an official welcoming ceremony in Tehran, Iran back in 2009. Photo - Vahid Salemi/AP

Reports coming from Tehran suggest the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had a telephonic conversation with Omani ruler Sultan Qaboos Bin Said on Wednesday in which both leaders stressed the need for strengthening mutual relations between the neighbouring countries and holding close consultations on key regional issues.

The Omani ruler congratulated the Iranian president and nation on the occasion of Nowruz and hailed bilateral relations. He also hoped that enhanced cooperation between Tehran and Muscat will be beneficial to regional peace and security, Iran’s Press TV wrote in an article.

The Iranian leader reciprocated by saying that both Iran and Oman should make efforts to raise the level of bilateral cooperation in various fields. He also expressed hope that regional developments would bring dignity to the Iranian and Omani people, and other nations, the Tehran-based media outlet reported.

The top-level contact between Tehran and Muscat comes days after the Gulf nation warned that the risk of military conflict between Iran and the West was rising but there was still ‘plenty of opportunity to negotiate peace’.

“We can see that the threat of an unfortunate flash of military confrontation is more possible rather than it is remote,” Reuters quoted Yousuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah, the sultanate’s minister responsible for foreign affairs, as saying at the Foreign Ministry in Muscat.

“Still there is time, but not long, to seize opportunities where the six (powers) and Iran can meet at a middle road to find a solution to this conflict.”

The Omani foreign minister also added there was also a risk that Western concerns over Iran’s nuclear programme could get out of hand, and urged for more focus on establishing facts on the ground.

“We are doing our best to keep this waterway open for the benefit of international trade and flow of energy to the rest of the world,” Abdullah said. “But there is no guarantee, once the situation is broken, we cannot offer alternatives,” he emphasised.

Oman is one of the few Arab countries that enjoys warm relations with the non-Arab Middle Eastern nation and has acted as a mediator to resolve differences between oil rich GCC states and the Islamic Republic.

“Because we are maintaining a good relationship with both sides (Iran and the West), when we feel there is an opportunity to give an advice for both sides, we do so,” Abdullah said.

“We understand the concern of the international community, and we also understand the view of the Iranian government,” the seasoned Omani FM said who has been in the office since 1982.

Sources: Press TV, Reuters

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