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Bin Alawi: We Seek to Ease Tension Between Washington, Tehran

Bin Alawi: We Seek to Ease Tension Between Washington, Tehran

Friday, 24 May, 2019 - 07:30
Omani Foreign Minister Yusuf bin Alawi (Asharq Al-Awsat)
London - Mustafa al-Dasouqi
Omani Foreign Minister Yusuf bin Alawi said that his country was striving to ease tensions in the current crisis between the United States and Iran, adding that “the danger of war ... could harm the entire world.”

He stressed that the US and Iranian sides “are aware of the seriousness of sliding into a war.”

In an interview with Majalla magazine, Bin Alawi did not deny or confirm the existence of an Omani mediation between Tehran and Washington, but noted that his country, along with other sides, was deploying all efforts to ease tension between the two parties.

He emphasized intensive contacts in this regard and called on the international community to launch a joint initiative involving the Sultanate of Oman to prevent risks before they occur.

The Omani minister stopped in Tehran on Monday on his way to London and met with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif. On his meeting, he said: “They do not want to go to war.”

Bin Alawi and his British counterpart Jeremy Hunt signed a cooperation and partnership agreement in London on Monday to develop bilateral ties in political, economic, scientific, cultural, developmental and technological fields.

Bin Alawi, who has been Oman’s foreign affairs minister since 1997, said his country’s relationship with the British side was “deeply rooted” and that the agreement was “a formal endorsement of the firm friendship” between the two sides.

As for his country’s relationship with Israel, the minister said: “It is normal ... in an interconnected world,” noting that Benjamin Netanyahu was not the only Israeli Prime Minister to visit Oman, and was preceded by Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon Peres, and other officials.

“Those visits were happening in sensitive times and during crises in the region,” he underlined.

Bin Alawi continued: “Netanyahu’s visit to Oman came upon his request, and was preceded by President Mahmoud Abbas’ visit... Talks revolved around helping the Palestinian and Israeli parties to get out of their crisis.”

“We have heard Netanyahu’s view and he heard our opinion,” he stressed, adding: “We believe that providing the Palestinians with a recognized independent and sovereign state is the basis for any initiative or plan for peace... Anything that prevents the establishment of a Palestinian state will not be acceptable,” he affirmed.

On the new US peace initiative, Bin Alawi said that the “Palestinians cannot not give up their statehood 70 years after the establishment of the State of Israel.”

“The Sultanate of Oman has not seen the plan… but we must take into consideration that there will be heated debate around it,” he remarked.

The Omani foreign minister did not rule out his country’s participation in an international economic "workshop" to be held in Bahrain on June 25 to announce the economic aspect of the US peace plan.

On the Yemeni file, Bin Alawi called for securing a favorable atmosphere for the UN envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffiths, and to enhance mutual trust in order to reach adequate solutions to the crisis.

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