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Omani minister fends off media criticism of Netanyahu-Qaboos meeting: ‘Why? Are we not allowed to do so?’

In an Al-Jazeera TV interview following Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's meeting with Omani Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said, Omani Foreign Minister Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah was asked why the sultanate had hosted the Israeli leader.

In an Al-Jazeera TV interview following Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s meeting with Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said of Oman, Omani Foreign Minister Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah was asked why the sultanate had hosted the Israeli leader.

“Why? Are we not allowed to do so?” he responded. When the interviewer later asked him about the timing of the visit, he responded: “Anybody has the right to express an opinion at any time he sees fit. We don’t see anything strange about this.”

The interview with the Omani foreign minister was broadcast on Oct. 26, 2018.

Interviewer: Why did Oman receive the Israeli prime minister?

Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah: Why? Are we not allowed to do so? Nobody is forbidden to …

Interviewer: What is the reason?

Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah: The reason is that the State of Israel is one of the countries of the Middle East, and the Israeli prime minister expressed his desire to visit our sultanate, and to present the Sultan with his views on how to resolve the issues of the Middle East, and particularly the Israel-Palestinian conflict. This [offer] was accepted. So he came, said what he wanted to say, and listened to what he had to say to him. Allah be praised.

Interviewer: OK, but we see that all the tracks of the peace process are at a deadlock. What can Oman do to get things moving?

Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah: You see it as a deadlock, but we don’t. We believe there is a measure of desire on both the Israeli and Palestinian sides to get things moving again, in order to achieve stability for both peoples.

Interviewer: But why now? Why at this time?

Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah: Any time is a suitable time. When you want to express an opinion on something. … Anybody has the right to express an opinion at any time he sees fit. We don’t see anything strange about this. This visit was in a strictly bilateral framework. With regard to the Palestinian cause, we, like [other] Arab countries, believe that the Palestinians must get their independent state, and live in coexistence with the Israeli people. They should embark upon a new journey for the sake of the future, and for the sake of establishing the Palestinian state. We believe that all countries, institutions and international organizations should promote support for that state.

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