PM: Qaboos 'worked tirelessly to promote peace, stability'

Netanyahu hails Oman’s ‘incredible leader’ Qaboos, welcomes successor

PM recalls his ‘important and stirring visit’ to the country in 2018; sultan was first Gulf leader to host a serving Israeli PM — Yitzhak Rabin, in 1994

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (left) with Sultan Qaboos bin Said of Oman in the Gulf state on October 26, 2018. (Courtesy)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (left) with Sultan Qaboos bin Said of Oman in the Gulf state on October 26, 2018. (Courtesy)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday offered his condolences to Oman over the death of Sultan Qaboos, whom he called “an incredible leader,” and welcomed his successor’s commitment to continue the departed ruler’s peace-seeking policies in the region.

“I send condolences to the people in Oman and share in their deep sorrow for the passing of Sultan Qaboos bin Said,” the premier said in a statement.

“About a year ago he invited my wife and myself to an enormously important and stirring visit,” Netanyahu said, in reference to his historic visit to the country in 2018.

“He was an incredible leader who worked tirelessly to promote peace and stability in our region. Under his leadership Oman became a central and advanced nation,”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (left) with Sultan Qaboos bin Said in Oman on October 26, 2018 (Courtesy)

Netanyahu went on to “congratulate the new sultan Haitham bin Tariq and welcome his statements that Oman’s foreign policy and work for regional peace will be upheld.”

The Foreign Ministry in a statement called Qaboos “a leader and a friend.” It praised him as a brave “man of peace and reconciliation” and offered its support to the Omani people. “We are with you in your grief.”

Blue and White party chief Benny Gantz tweeted: “The Middle East has lost a leader who made a significant contribution to stability.” He said Qaboos “was among the first to understand that relations with Israel are in the interest of all Middle Eastern countries.

“We will continue to foster ties with his successor… in the interest of regional security and stability.”

Qaboos was the first Gulf leader to host a serving Israeli prime minister — Yitzhak Rabin in 1994. He did so “in encouragement of the continuation of the peace process,” Rabin said at the time.

Many world leaders also paid homage to Sultan Qaboos, who died at the age of 79, as a wise and moderate leader and a champion of Arab and Islamic nations.

Qaboos, who ruled since 1970 when he deposed his father in a palace coup, had been ill for some time and was believed to be suffering from colon cancer.

His successor, Haitham, has already pledged to maintain the kingdom’s non-interference policy that made Oman a vital regional mediator.

“Our Arab and Islamic nation lost today, a leader and leader of its finest men,” said Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Qaboos “devoted his life to serving his country and people and the issues of the Arab and Islamic nations with wisdom and balance,” he added.

A joint European Commission-European Union statement praised Qaboos’s “sense of pragmatism and his unparalleled savoir-faire.”

Sultan of Oman Qaboos bin Said al-Said sits during a meeting with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the Beit Al Baraka Royal Palace in Muscat, Oman, Monday, Jan. 14, 2019. (Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/Pool Photo via AP)

Under his leadership, “Oman embarked on an unprecedented era of reforms that improved the living standards for the Omani people,” the statement said. “His vision steered a foreign policy that placed Oman among the European Union’s closest partners, in a region mired in conflict and gripped by tensions.”

Qaboos’s death meant “the loss of a good friend for Germany,” a statement from German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said.

“Sultan Qaboos was a responsible actor for mutual understanding and compromise in the Middle East and Gulf region. His word was widely heeded,” it said.

The late sultan “made great efforts for the welfare and development of Oman as well as being an important figure in the politics of the region,” Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan tweeted.

In this Saturday, Dec. 21, 2002 file photo, Sultan Qaboos bin Said of Oman attends the 23rd session of the Gulf Cooperation Council Summit in Doha, Qatar (AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian, File)

Qaboos’s death was “a loss for the region,” said Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, tweeting in Arabic. Congratulating Oman on its choice of His Majesty Haitham bin Tariq as his successor, Zarif hoped their relations would continue to grow.

Syria’s President Bashar Assad said Qaboos led Oman “on a path of progress and advancement and managed with great wisdom and sophistication to create a distinguished place for the country among Arab states.” Oman is the only Gulf Cooperation Council member state to have maintained diplomatic relations with Damascus since the start of the civil war there.

Iraqi President Barham Saleh paid tribute to the late sultan’s “moderation and wisdom and the ability to control differences in the interest of the development and progress of our countries and region.”

“With the loss of Sultan Qaboos, the Arab world loses a man of dialogue, wisdom and peace,” Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun wrote on Twitter, honoring “a brother and a friend to Lebanon.”

In this undated file photo made available March 23, 2015, by Oman News Agency, Sultan Qaboos bin Said of Oman arrives in Muscat, Oman (Oman News Agency via AP, File)

“The Gulf, Arab and Islamic nations lost a very important figure and leader,” said Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah.

The leaders of Saudi Arabia and Qatar also offered their condolences.

“We have lost a wise leader in my brother His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said of Oman,” said a statement from King Abdullah II of Jordan on Twitter. He spoke of Qaboos’s role in “defending Arab and Islamic causes.”

Qaboos was “a constant supporter of Arab and Islamic issues in various situations, and the pioneer of Oman’s renaissance,” wrote Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said “He was an exceptionally wise and respected leader who will be missed enormously.”

“He was a stable force in the Middle East and a strong US ally,” said former US president George W. Bush about Qaboos. “His Majesty had a vision for a modern, prosperous, and peaceful Oman, and he willed that vision into reality.”

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