23 July

As Omanis, the 23rd of July is an important occasion, highlighting the changes that Oman went through in the past forty-eight years. It reminds us of the development, progress, and prosperity that took place in many sectors of our country. The Renaissance day marks the beginning of an era in which modern state institutions led by His Majesty, hand in hand with the private sector, take the helm of building, developing, and setting a comprehensive development process plan. Correspondingly, there was always a balance between preserving the heritage passed down to Omanis, and the requirements of the evolution to a modern state. As the world arena shifted, and the requirements that states are expected to meet changed, the Sultanate of Oman had to evolve too. This was confirmed by His Majesty Sultan Qaboos in his speech in the Omani Council in 2012, where he said: “The development plans have changed life in this country, facilitated the implementation of social and human development programs, and the delivery of services as well. In addition to the need for infrastructure development that will never stop, as it is an ongoing process necessitated by urban expansion and required by social and economic development. It is set by human need to communicate and strive for a better life”.

 This occasion is also an opportunity to highlight some of the important aspects that have characterized Oman on the regional and global levels. Firstly, it maintained its neutral foreign policy in dealing with many political incidents. Oman's foreign policy has been shaped by its historical experiences, coupled with the wisdom of its leadership and foresight in dealing with changes. This policy succeeded in continuously extending the bridges of friendship, broadening the horizons of cooperation and good relations with other countries. Those relations are based on solid foundations of mutual respect and Oman’s non- intervention policy. In addition to the respect of good-neighbourly relations and the adoption of dialogue as a way to resolve disputes. It is noteworthy that Oman’s history is rich with political stances and actions in which the Sultanate acted with great wisdom and foresight. In November 1978, following the signing of Camp David peace agreement with Israel, most Arab states decided at the Baghdad summit to transfer the headquarters of the Arab League, suspend Egypt's membership and then cut relations. Oman, Somalia and Sudan were the only Arab states that did not cut their relations with Egypt following the Egypt-Israel peace treaty. Oman was also one of the first states to support the return of the headquarters to Cairo, a decision that was later supported by the majority of the Arab states.

The Sultanate has also chosen not to take part of “the gulf storm” against Yemen. Accordingly, it was able to play a major role in the release of the "foreign hostages" abducted by Yemeni armed groups. In November 2015, the Omani Foreign Ministry announced the release of three American citizens, who were "found" in Yemen. In November 2011, the mediation of Oman resulted in the release of three French hostages, "two women and one man," kidnapped since May of the same year. In return for ransom payments to kidnappers believed to be linked to al Qaeda in eastern Yemen. In September 2015, Houthi rebels released six foreigners, including two American citizens. There are many other similar examples that prove Oman's role in ending disputes peacefully and with fewer damages. Moreover, Arab and international media reported on the agreement between Iran and the international community (5 +1) that had many effects at both the international and regional level. There has been a lot of talk about the Omani role in reaching this agreement and avoiding a conflict that was about to explode. The statements of many observers were thankful of the role of Oman, as was announced by the US Secretary of State John Kerry. It is clear that Oman's foreign policy is characterised by its vision and ability to predict regional and international developments related to the clash of the interests in the region. Accordingly, his Majesty placed the basis of Omani policy on peace, security and stability, not only internally, but also at the regional and international levels.

Photo Credit

Article By 
Attefa Nasser Al Maskari 

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