Sultan of Oman receives Israel PM 'after prolonged contacts'

Sultan of Oman receives Israel PM 'after prolonged contacts'

He warned Muslim countries not to allow Tel Aviv to create "further trouble for the region".

Israeli-Palestinian peace talks have been stalled for almost a decade and US President Donald Trump's much vaunted peace plan is yet to be released.

Bahrain's Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa voiced support for Oman over the sultanate's role in trying to secure Israeli-Palestinian peace, while Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said the kingdom believes the key to normalising relations with Israel was the peace process.

The two leaders discussed the Middle East peace process "and other issues of shared interest", it said in a statement released after Netanyahu returned from the first such visit by an Israeli premier for more than two decades.

Accompanying Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, were National Security Adviser and National Security Council Director Meir Ben-Shabbat; Mossad director Yossi Cohen; the head of the Prime Minister's staff, Yoav Horowitz; the director of the Foreign Ministry, Yuval Rotem; and Brig.

The last official visit between the two nations was in 1996 when then-Prime Minister Shimon Peres visited Oman and Qatar and opened Israel Trade Representations in both Gulf states.

Bin Alawi said earlier that Netanyahu's visit to Muscat and his meeting with Sultan Qaboos was preceded by the visit of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, but the two visits came within their bilateral framework.

In August, Benjamin Netanyahu dropped a hint that Israel may join an anti-Iranian Arab coalition in the event Tehran blocks the Bab al-Mandab Strait, the southern entrance to the Red Sea. The trip to Oman, an Arab country with no formal ties to Iran, had not been announced in advance.

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The Palestinians cut ties with the United States after the White House recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital and then moved the American embassy there in May.

In recent years, Netanyahu has insisted that relations between Israel and Gulf countries have been growing, despite none of the seven Gulf states officially recognising Israel.

A Wikileaks cable from 2010 reported that Gulf states believed they could "count on Israel against Iran".

Abbas paid his visit to Oman on October 21-23, and called it "successfull on all levels" in an interview to Palestinian TV.

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

Oman has no official diplomatic ties with Israel, although a slight warming in relations followed the Oslo Accords in the 1990s.

Meanwhile, Israel's Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev on Friday arrived in the UAE for the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam Judo tournament in which Israel's national team is competing.

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