The Saudi-Omani relations at this historical stage; under the leadership of King Salman and Sultan Haitham Bin Tarik of the Sultanate of Oman; are heading steadily to broader horizons of joint action and investment in national capabilities; as an added value in various fields that would bring further prosperity to the two countries. Besides, achieving the aspirations of Saudi and Omani citizens.
The principles of fraternity and unity have set the foundations for strong and solid relations between the two sides, thus strengthening the common aspects of bilateral cooperation and constitutes a starting point for building bridges of understanding and dialogue with various countries in the region and the world to achieve security and stability.
Over half a century long relations between Riyadh and Muscat have been featured by cooperation and mutual respect between the two leaderships and understanding on various regional and international issues, while the peoples of the two countries have long-standing bonds of fraternity, framed by common history, authentic Arab customs and traditions, and popular heritage.
Common visions and strategic goals
Regionally, the two countries’ efforts are joined by their brothers under the umbrella of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). This is in accordance with common visions and strategic goals, in order to achieve coordination and integration between member states in various fields, with their roles expanding within the Arab League; the Organization of Islamic Cooperation; and the international community in the United Nations in support of peace and security efforts.
The successive changes in the region are pushing the leaderships of the two countries for more cooperation at the bilateral, Gulf; and regional levels to move forward in establishing permanent security and stability. Besides, ensuring that their positive repercussions are reflected on development programs in service of their nations.
Sultan Haitham’s visit to the Kingdom comes in response to the invitation of King Salman; representing the first foreign visit of the Sultan since taking office in January 2020. The visit reiterates the status of the Kingdom and its leadership at the political and popular level in Oman; matched by the appreciation and respect of the leadership and people of the Kingdom to the Omani people and leadership.
Important historical stage
The meeting of the Saudi and Omani leaderships, at this time, for consultation and coordination in various affairs that serve the interests of the two countries and the region and its stability reflects the wisdom and foresight the two leaders enjoy in dealing with the latest developments in the region and internationally.
Sultan Haitham’s assumption of power in Oman came at an important historical stage, given the political, economic, social, and health changes and challenges that the region and the world are witnessing, which require dealing with them, taking into account the preservation of the established traditions of governance in Oman, and the necessities and requirements of change and modernization.
Sultan Haitham announced major political, financial and economic reforms, and the development of the structure of state’s agencies and institutions to become more effective in meeting the hopes and aspirations of the Omani people, and preserving the safety and stability of the country.
At the same time, Sultan Haitham pledged to continue the approach that Oman followed in its foreign policy; and its commitment not to interfere in the affairs of other countries; and to advance the process of joint action among the GCC member states.
Current and future challenges
Sultan Haitham continues to face current and future challenges with an accumulated experience of diplomatic and governmental work; spanned for many years before assuming power; especially assuming the presidency of the main committee for the future vision “Oman 2040”.
Within the framework of the joint action between the two countries to strengthen economic relations; the visions of the Kingdom 2030 and Oman 2040 constitute a common denominator in the field of trade. Besides, benefiting from the investment opportunities available; in a way that achieves for both countries diversity in their economies and sources of income.
Within the context of the Omani vision, which relied on its political and economic stability, the country ranked 23rd in oil reserves in the world and 27th in gas reserves. The Sultanate has taken concrete steps to diversify its national income sources and reduce its dependence on oil.
Oman’s strategic location and its political and security stability provided a competitive advantage to attract foreign investments. The Sultanate also sought to exploit this advantage; by establishing a number of economic zones and ports. Besides, focusing on promising sectors, most notably the tourism and logistics sectors.
In addition to its unique natural features that made the Sultanate a destination for Saudi and Gulf tourists; who share with the Omani people the religion and language; the common social customs and traditions enabled the Sultanate to emerge as a popular tourist destination.
The Green Middle East initiative announced by Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman; deputy prime minister; and minister of defense, represent a promising aspect for cooperation between the Kingdom and Oman in combating climate change.
Saudi-Omani Coordination Council
In order to enhance the participatory efforts, the two sides aspire that the “establishment of the Saudi-Omani Coordination Council” will contribute to setting a common vision for deepening and sustaining relations and raising them to the level of integration in the political, security, military, economic, developmental and human fields.
One of the most important gains for the two neighboring countries in the near term is the completion of the land port project; linking the Kingdom and Oman over a distance of more than 680 km so that after its inauguration; it will contribute to accelerating and increasing the volume of trade and investment exchange between the two countries; as it will shorten the travel time by about 800 km. It will also facilitate the movement of goods from the Kingdom to the rest of the world; via land and through the Omani ports.
It is noteworthy that the volume of trade exchange between the Kingdom and Oman last year amounted to $3.36bn; included iron, steel products, and organic chemical products, while the value of Saudi non-oil exports to Oman amounted to $1.16bn; including metal products, iron or steel products and food products.