According to an Omani political analyst and foreign diplomat based in the country, the discussions are likely to focus on Omani mediation in the GCC crisis as well as Yemen and Iran. “This meeting only means that Saudi Arabia now realises how important Oman is to [resolving] the crises in the Gulf,” the analyst, who works at a think tank in Muscat, told The National. “The Saudis know that Oman can mediate solutions Riyadh is looking for in Qatar, Yemen and Iran. The Sultanate has certain influence on these countries and this is the feeling in Riyadh.”
Oman has played the role of mediator between the warring parties in Yemen, where Saudi Arabia leads a military coalition fighting Iran-backed rebels since 2015, and in the dispute with Qatar over Doha’s support for terrorism.
Prince Abdulaziz’s visit underscored Muscat’s unique role in the Middle East’s political order as a diplomatic bridge between the Sunni Arab states and their western allies on one side and the Iranians on the other.
The Middle East magazine has long suggested that the countries of the GCC would benefit enormously in its ongoing disputes from the intervention of Oman and specifically the sage, sound judgement of Sultan Qaboos who has managed to maintain good relations with all his neighbours.
In August 2017, in relation to the fracturing of relations between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which has since escalated Pat Lancaster wrote: There are no winners in this embarrassing debacle, to which a halt must soon surely be called. Could it be time to call for the intervention of Sultan Qaboos of Oman to mediate between the feuding states? His wisdom and integrity are second to none and may be our best hope of bringing a swift end to these shenanigans before it all ends in tears. The countries of the GCC have put more than 30 years of hard work into presenting a united front to the rest of the world, it would be a tragedy to see the foundations of the organisation crumble now, at a time when global unity and brotherly love have rarely been less apparent.
With acknowledgements to: ONA &The National