Oman’s Foreign Minister made a rare visit to Syria on Sunday to discuss ways of restoring stability and security in the region with President Bashar al-Assad.
Oman is one of the few Arab countries that kept normal relations with Damascus after Syria was suspended from the Arab League in 2011 with its crackdown on Arab Spring protests.
Assad discussed regional and international affairs with Oman’s Foreign Minister, Yusuf bin Alawi, as well as the “economic and political challenges imposed on the region.”
Syria’s state news agency, SANA, said the Omani official met his Syrian counterpart, Walid Muallem, to discuss regional affairs.
Muallem had previously visited Oman in March 2018.
Oman’s Foreign Ministry tweeted that Alawi delivered a message from the Sultan of Oman and talked about boosting efforts “to restore stability and security in the region.”
Oman has good relations with Western countries as well as Iran — a key ally of the Syrian government — and has often played a mediating role in regional disputes.
In December, the United Arab Emirates reopened its embassy in Syria’s capital for the first time in seven years. Bahrain followed days later by resuming work in its embassy in Damascus, but no other Arab countries have followed suit.
Most Arab countries in the Gulf supported the opposition against Al-Assad. Arab countries have sanctioned Damascus and condemned Al-Assad for using overwhelming military force and failing to negotiate with the opposition.
In January 2019, Egyptian Foreign Minister, Sameh Shoukry, said that Syria has to follow several measures in order to be readmitted to the Arab League. One of these measures is to politically solve the ongoing crisis through the UN’s vision. The Syrian regime has been lately trying to return back to the Arab diplomatic scene by sending Syrian political, security, or cultural officials to several Arab countries.
For example, on December 27, 2018, the UAE announced that it will reopen its embassy in Damascus for the first time since 2011.
Similarly, another example is the visit of the top aide to Al-Assad, and the National Security Chief, Major General Ali Mamlouk to Egypt to discuss political and security issues, including efforts to combat terrorism with Egyptian officials.