WASHINGTON: The US State Department has said that its partnership with Oman anchors peace and stability in the Middle East. A statement issued on the occasion of the visit of the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, to Oman, said: “Late His Majesty Sultan Qaboos was a revered leader and a friend of all nations. The US deeply valued His Majesty’s strong partnership in promoting regional stability and security. We honour his legacy and remain committed to our strong partnership and friendship with Oman.” The statement added that the reign of late His Majesty Sultan Qaboos oversaw the development of modern Oman and forged a strategic partnership with the US that is an anchor of peace and stability in the Middle East.
“Our bilateral partnership is critical to our mutual national security objectives, including countering terrorism and promoting regional stability. Oman plays a key role in guaranteeing freedom of navigation through the Strait of Hormuz, a maritime route through which 30 per cent of the world’s oil shipments pass.” The statement said Oman plays a unique diplomatic role in the region, bridging divides and promoting dialogue and peaceful resolution of conflicts, including Yemen and the Middle East peace process.
The US-Oman Free Trade Agreement, signed in 2009, is the centre-piece of bilateral economic relationship that supports prosperity and creates jobs in both countries, the statement said. Omani exports to the US have increased at an annual rate of approximately 12 per cent, while US exports to Oman have increased by more than 50 per cent since 2009. Total bilateral trade in goods between the United States and Oman was almost $3.1 billion in 2019. US companies in Oman operate mainly in the construction, oil, gas, and technology sectors. The Oman American Business Center in Muscat currently has more than 150 company members. Omani ports outside the Strait of Hormuz — such as Duqm, Sohar, and Salalah — play a growing role as regional and global logistical hubs, the statement said.
FRIEND OF ALL
Meanwhile, Forbes magazine affirmed that Oman under the reign of His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik will continue with its neutral approach in the Gulf region, which is important for the region and the whole world. “Oman is a friend for everyone and the whole world needs the Sultanate’s friendship.” In its recent report, the magazine praised the Sultanate’s efforts and added that it is working hard to ensure that it is not drawn into regional conflicts.