MUSCAT: The Sultanate today marks the 49th Glorious National Day with glory, solid will, great resolution, ambition and gratefulness coupled with love, loyalty and gratitude to the builder of the modern Renaissance of Oman — His Majesty Sultan Qaboos. While His Majesty the Leader affirmed that the achievements accomplished across the good land of Oman are the fruits of the efforts, cooperation and participation of the loyal citizens of Oman in all fields, men and women, elderly and young, the people of the country all over this good land who surround His Majesty with their eyes, hearts and minds, completely realise that the wisdom and foresight of His Majesty the Sultan and his deep love for Oman, the nation and citizens, and the dedication of all His Majesty’s time to achieve the interests of Oman and its people in the present and future, have led Oman, the state and society, to safety and is still achieving security, stability and prosperity despite the challenges and developments in the region over the past years, which is very meaningful, indicative and clear at all levels. Although the last 49 years are not a long time in the life of peoples, they have in fact witnessed a qualitative and quantitative progress, development and civilisation in all spheres of life across the good land of Oman, in a way that fulfils what His Majesty has wished and planned, one stage after another, to build a modern state that is based on the principles and values of equality, citizenship and the rule of law and on the cooperation and integration of institutions.

The achievements that have been accomplished in all fields remain more eloquent than any statement and stronger than all words because they are a reality that are lived by the Omani citizen and enjoyed their fruits wherever he is inside and outside the country. Also, the Omani citizen command respect wherever he is in the world, thanks to the great respect and appreciation enjoyed by His Majesty the Sultan, throughout the world, and thanks to the confidence that the Sultanate and its people enjoy among the countries and peoples of the world as a state of peace and active participation in every effort aimed at achieving peace, security and stability for the peoples of the region and countries and the world around it, which is recognised and admitted by all, in the region and the world, and in different forms.

In this context, while many of the world leaders are keen to seek the opinion of His Majesty the Sultan and his wise and far-sighted assessment of various regional and international developments, the first World Maritime Heritage Conference held in Singapore in mid-March presented to His Majesty the Outstanding Leadership Award, in recognition of His Majesty’s interest in the maritime heritage of the Sultanate and the enhancement of its maritime position on the international map. The prestigious awards achieved by the Shabab Oman II vessel of the Royal Navy of Oman (RNO) during its participation in a number of international festivals during its voyage themed “Masts of Glory and Peace” to the European continent this year is only a very significant model in this area.

On the other hand, the Sultanate’s hosting of Gulf, Arab, regional and international meetings and their multilevel diplomatic activities reflect the Omani clarity, frankness and dedication to work sincerely in the interest of the security, stability and prosperity of the region in all its countries and peoples and resolving all differences through fraternal dialogue, in a peaceful way, so that all the peoples of the region can devote themselves to building their lives as they want and on the basis of mutual respect and non-interference in the internal affairs of others, good neighbourliness and positive cooperation to achieve the common and mutual interests of all parties. It is hoped that the Omani efforts and actions at the Gulf, regional and Arab levels would achieve hopes and aspirations of the peoples of the region towards better growth.
It is significant in that context that the Sultanate, chairing the current GCC session, has proudly hosted all the meetings of GCC bodies, committees and councils in the presence of representatives of all GCC member states in preparation for the meetings of the GCC Supreme Council.

The Sultanate has always called and welcomed any sincere and constructive efforts to end the wars and confrontations in a number of countries in the region, the foremost of which is the sisterly Republic of Yemen, and sought peaceful solutions that open the door for a greater consensus among its peoples to build their present and future as they wish, and within the framework of easing tension in the GCC region and secure freedom of navigation in the waterways, especially the strategic Strait of Hormuz, whose waterways fall within the Omani territorial waters, the Sultanate said in a speech during the 74th session of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly on September 28, 2019.
The Sultanate has always affirmed its support for the Palestinian people and national rights, including the right to establish an independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital, as part of the two-state solution. The Sultanate also decided in June to establish a new Omani diplomatic mission in Ramallah at the level of an embassy in the sisterly State of Palestine.

Based on the foundations and principles laid down by His Majesty for the foreign policy of the Sultanate and its relations with various countries, a foreign policy that is well known and transparent, this year has witnessed many visits and meetings at various political, economic, cultural and other levels between the Sultanate and brotherly and friendly countries, in order to promote mutual interests and support the pillars of security and stability in the region. In this context, for example, a joint defence agreement was signed between the Sultanate and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland on February 21, 2019, and a cooperation agreement was signed to develop joint ties between the two friendly countries on May 22, 2019. The Sultanate established a strategic partnership with the friendly People’s Republic of China in May 2018 and has good and close relations with India, the United States, Iran and other countries all over the world, which reflects positively on the Sultanate’s relations and its political and development efforts as well.

Internally, it is not an exaggeration to say that the celebration of the 49th anniversary of the long march of the Omani modern Renaissance is witnessing a great and sustained developmental momentum in a way that puts the Omani economy on the threshold of a new stage as it prepares to enter with greater horizons, goals and hopes to achieve the Oman Vision 2040, whose preparation will be completed during this period which will start with the beginning of 2021, as 2020 represents the last year of the Oman Vision 2020, and the last years of the Ninth Five-Year Plan 2016-2020.
While His Majesty expressed his satisfaction with the efforts exerted by the government and other state institutions in continuing the comprehensive development process in positive growth rates, where they maintained the level of basic social services for citizens throughout the country while diversifying sources of income and increasing cooperation of the private sector with the government in all sectors of national work, the decrees issued by His Majesty, since the beginning of this year, is particularly important in the amendment of many laws and preparation to give a major boost to efforts to diversify sources of income, attract more foreign investment, strengthening cooperation and partnership between the public and private sectors, the establishment of the Public Authority for Privatisation, the establishment of the National Employment Centre and the issuance of its regulation system by Royal Decree No 22/2019 issued on February 28, 2019, which represents an important qualitative progress in terms of work to accommodate young people seeking jobs, as it is affiliated to the Council of Ministers and enjoys judicial entity and financial and administrative independence.

It is important to note that while the National Conference for the Oman Vision 2040, which was held in January, was keen to achieve the largest possible community participation, especially by the youth to develop the Oman Vision 2040, based on the Royal Orders of His Majesty the Sultan, and to express the priorities of society and the aspirations of citizens to achieve the desired goals, it has a profound significance in order to achieve more capacity and effectiveness to cope with the requirements of the stage and be accepted at various levels. In this context, a new ministry was established, named the Ministry of Technology and Communications under Royal Decree No 63/2019, issued on October 14 and the Ministry of Transport and Communications was renamed as the Ministry of Transport under the Royal Decree No 64 /2019. Another Ministry was established, Ministry of Arts Affairs, under the Royal Decree No 65/2019. A Decree No 66/2019 was issued to establish a tax authority under the Council of Ministers and enjoy legal entity and financial and administrative independence. The post of Minister of State and Governor of Musandam was introduced and the Royal Decree No 114/2011 was amended on approval of the administrative division of the Sultanate and regulating the governors’ work pursuant to Royal Decree No 97/2019 issued on October 14, 2019.

While Oman, under the leadership of His Majesty the Leader, is moving faster towards its national goals, relying on the efforts of its people from all sectors of society, particularly young people, who are directly and continuously enjoy care and attention of His Majesty the Sultan, which allows Omani women to play their desired national role as well. The Sultan’s Armed Forces, the Royal Guard, the Royal Oman Police, the Firaq Forces and the security services are making continuous progress and development in their combat competencies and various skills to play their national role in defending the homeland and protecting its achievements, thanks to the Royal care of His Majesty, the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces.
The Omani people have always affirmed their gratitude, loyalty and standing behind the wise leadership of His Majesty the Sultan and under His Majesty’s banner vowing His Majesty to take great pains in defending the soil of the homeland and protect the achievements of
the Blessed Renaissance and to achieve the priorities and goals set by His Majesty. — ONA