Only after France, Oman is hosting the Emirati president's second official trip abroad, at the invitation of Omani Sultan Haitham bin Tariq al-Said

Mohammed bin Zayed visits Oman for the first time as President of the UAE

PHOTO/REUTERS - Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates

The Omani capital of Muscat was preparing today to welcome Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates, on his second official trip abroad - the first in the list of Arab countries and Gulf powers - since he came to power last May after the death of his father, Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. 

The ancient city on the shores of the Arabian Sea, Muscat, was dressed up on Tuesday to welcome the President of its Emirati neighbour and the entire delegation travelling with him. "From its entry into the airspace of the Sultanate of Oman until its arrival at the Royal Space Airport, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nayhan's plane was accompanied by a flock of military aircraft welcoming the guest of honour," Oman's state news agency reported. 

After landing, the Emirate's delegation - comprising, according to the Emirati news agency WAM, leading Emirati figures such as the Deputy Chairman of Abu Dhabi's Executive Council, Hazza bin Zayed Al Nayhan, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Abu Dhabi, Hazza bin Zayed Al Nayhan; Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Presidential Court, Hamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and UAE Ambassador to Oman, Mohamed Sultan Al Suwaidi - was received by a Guard of Honour, comprising hundreds of members of the Royal Cavalry and the Omani Royal Guard.


Mohammed bin Zayed was welcomed by his Omani counterpart, Sultan Haitham bin Tariq al-Said, upon his arrival at Muscat's Royal Private Airport, while the official reception for the Emirati president took place at Al Al Alam, a small ceremonial palace and former official residence of Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said - Haitham bin Tariq's father and predecessor - located in the old part of the capital. In addition, the reception also included traditional Omani musical and cultural performances, the playing of both national anthems and a salute by the 21-gun Omani artillery. 

"During this [two-day state] visit, a number of issues and areas of common interest will be discussed that will contribute to realising the aspirations and hopes of both countries for a more prosperous future," Emirati sources said of a meeting that is expected to boost relations and further consolidate the historical, geographical and cultural ties that "bind the two countries together", the leaders of the two powers said.

The historic meeting between the late Zayed bin Sultan Al Nayhan and Qaboos bin Said Al Said in 1968, the former Emirati Sheikh and Omani Sultan respectively, was one of the first and most important steps in the diplomatic and regional rapprochement of the two Gulf neighbours. And it was precisely in the wake of this meeting that numerous cultural and educational pacts were drawn up after the birth of the Federation of the United Arab Emirates in 1971. A path towards cooperation was also written on Zayed bin Sultan's visit to Oman in 1991, when it was agreed to create a Joint Higher Committee (which would facilitate the entry of citizens from both countries to the two territories) and a Higher Economic Committee for joint projects.


In this sense, both Abu Dhabi and Muscat hope to address agendas full of economic, commercial, cultural and developmental issues in bilateral, regional and international terms. A strategic partnership between the two countries - they hope - will continue to be the key to their relations during Mohammed bin Zayed's stay in Oman. The two countries are mutually "indispensable to each other in many pillars of cooperation", said Salem Al Jahouri, Vice-President of the Omani Journalists Association, to Al Ain, "particularly in political positions and in cooperation on economic, security, military, cultural, health and educational issues". 

In all these aspects, the rapprochements that have already taken place between the United Arab Emirates and Oman stand out, such as the agreements to coordinate coastal protection measures against smuggling - improving stability in the region -, or the convergence in political and diplomatic perspectives on the Palestinian question, the war in Yemen, the Iranian nuclear file, or the Russian-Ukrainian war in Europe

According to Al Jaahouri, this could later be reflected in joint influence within the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC), helping to unify the positions of all its member states.