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Oman optimistic about Trump peace plan, recognizes Israel as 'state'

Photo fournie par le Palais royal à Oman le 26 octobre 2018 montrant le sultan Qabous (G) accueillant le Premier ministre israélien Benjamin Netanyahu qui a effectué une visite officielle non annoncée dans ce pays arabe du Golfe avec lequel Israël n'entre
- (Omani Royal Palace/AFP)

Oman will not act as mediator in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, though the gulf monarchy is willing to help, foreign affairs minister Yousuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah said on Saturday.

"Israel is a state present in the region, and we all understand this,” bin Alawi said.

He added that Oman is “very optimistic” about US President Donald Trump’s peace plan saying the “solution will be beneficial for Israelis and Palestinians alike.”

"We are not mediators in Israel-Palestine, but we offer facilitation and ideas to help two parties to come together,” he added.

"We are not saying that the road is now easy and paved with flowers, but our priority is to put an end to the conflict and move to a new world,” bin-Alawi said at the summit.

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United States, Italy, and Germany all participated in the summit. King Abdullah of Jordan was expected to attend but cancelled following a flood that killed 21 people in the Dead Sea region.

The foreign minister’s remarks followed a clandestine visit to Oman by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu which came only days after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas visited the Gulf monarchy. Oman’s Sultan Qaboos met with both leaders.

Bahrain foreign minister Khalid bin Ahmed al Khalifa said his country supports Oman’s vision of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, while his Saudi Arabian counterpart called the peace process “the key” to normalizing its relations with Israel.

Both Saudi Arabia and Israel consider Iran the biggest threat to regional stability, comparing the Islamic Republic leadership to that of Nazi Germany.

Oman has a history of helping to mediate Middle Eastern conflicts, though it has never had consistent diplomatic relations with Israel.

In 1994, then-Israeli premier Yitzhak Rabin visited Oman, and acting prime minister Shimon Peres also made a visit in 1996 and the two countries agreed to open trade representative offices.

In October 2000, Oman closed the offices after the outbreak of the second Palestinian Intifada.

US Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt embraced “warming ties” between Israel and Oman, calling the efforts a helpful step for our peace efforts & essential to create an atmosphere of stability, security & prosperity between Israelis, Palestinians & their neighbors” in a tweet.

“Looking forward to seeing more meetings like this!” he added.

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