Abbas adviser welcomes Oman’s decision to open mission to the Palestinians
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Abbas adviser welcomes Oman’s decision to open mission to the Palestinians

Majdi al-Khaldi says Muscat operated diplomatic office in West Bank in 1990s but later closed it; four Arab states currently maintain representation in Ramallah

Adam Rasgon is the Palestinian affairs reporter at The Times of Israel

Majdi al-Khaldi, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's senior diplomatic adviser. (Wafa)
Majdi al-Khaldi, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's senior diplomatic adviser. (Wafa)

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s diplomatic affairs adviser has welcomed Oman’s decision to open a diplomatic mission in Ramallah.

The Omani Foreign Ministry announced in a statement on its Twitter account on Wednesday that Muscat decided to open “a new diplomatic mission in the State of Palestine at the level of of an embassy.”

The statement came on the second day of the US-led conference focused on the Palestinian economy in the Bahraini capital Manama. The Palestinians have fiercely opposed the summit, arguing that discussions about statehood should precede those regarding the Palestinian economy.

“We appreciate and welcome the decision of the Sultanate of Oman to open an office here,” Majdi al-Khaldi told The Times of Israel in a phone call.

Four Arab states currently have diplomatic offices in Ramallah: Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco.

Jordan and Egypt are the sole two Arab states to maintain formal diplomatic ties and peace treaties with Israel.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Omani Foreign Minister Yusuf bin Alawi meeting in Ramallah on October 31, 2018. (Credit: Wafa)

Khaldi said that Oman operated a diplomatic office in the West Bank in the 1990s but later closed it.

In its statement, the Omani Foreign Ministry also said the decision to open the diplomatic mission came “in continuation of the Sultanate’s supportive approach to the brotherly Palestinian people.”

It also said that a delegation from the Omani Foreign Ministry would go to Ramallah to carry out the required procedures to open a diplomatic mission.

The Palestinians operate an embassy in Muscat.

Asked whether Oman coordinated its decision to open a diplomatic office to the Palestinians with Israel, the Israeli Foreign Ministry said it was not aware of the matter.

Even though Oman does not have formal diplomatic relations with Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Muscat in October 2018 and met Omani Sultan Qaboos bin Said there.

Before Netanyahu’s trip last year, no Israeli premier had been known to visit Oman in more than two decades.

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