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Oman decides to open an embassy in Palestine

سلطنة عُمان تقرر فتح سفارة في فلسطين

DUBAI (Reuters) – Oman said on Wednesday it was planning to open a new diplomatic mission in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and that a delegation from its foreign ministry would go to Ramallah for that purpose.

The Gulf state made its announcement as Washington launched an economic plan it says will be a foundation for Israeli-Palestinian peace but which Palestinians and many other Arabs dismiss as pointless without a political solution.

“In line with the Sultanate’s support for the brotherly Palestinian people, it has decided to open a new diplomatic mission for Palestine at the level of embassy,” the foreign ministry said in Twitter post.

“A delegation from the foreign ministry will be going to Ramallah to start procedures to open the embassy,” the tweet added.

A source familiar with the decision said that Oman closed its diplomatic mission in Gaza following the 2006 Israeli bombing of the strip of land, but it kept close ties with the Palestinian authority.

Hanan Ashrawi, a senior official in the Palestine Liberation Organisation, welcomed the decision and any recognition of Palestine as a state.

“I hope the embassy will help in educating the Omani government on the real nature of the Israeli occupation,” Ashrawi added, speaking at a news conference on Wednesday in Ramallah.

Oman has long been to the Middle East what neutral Switzerland is to global diplomacy. The country helped to mediate secret U.S.-Iran talks in 2013 that led to the historic nuclear deal signed in Geneva two years later.

It has been offering ideas to help Israel and the Palestinians come together although it is not acting as a direct mediator.

Last year, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a rare visit to Muscat and discussed Middle East peace initiatives with Omani leader Sultan Qaboos.

Reporting By Aziz El Yaakoubi and Rami Ayyub in Ramallah, Editing by Toby Chopra, William Maclean

قالت سلطنة عمان، أمس الأربعاء، إنها قررت فتح بعثة دبلوماسية جديدة على مستوى سفارة في فلسطين.

ووفق تغريدة للخارجية العمانية، عبر حسابها الرسمي بـ «تويتر»، سيتوجه وفد من الوزارة إلى رام الله لمباشرة إجراءات فتح السفارة.

وأوضحت أن ذلك القرار يأتي «استمراراً لنهج السلطنة الداعم للشعب الفلسطيني». ولم توضح الخارجية العمانية مستوى وجودها الدبلوماسي في فلسطين.

ويتزامن إعلان السلطنة مع انعقاد اليوم الثاني والأخير لمؤتمر المنامة، الذي يطرح الجانب الاقتصادي من الخطة الأميركية للسلام بالشرق الأوسط المعروفة باسم «صفقة القرن»، في البحرين.

والأشهر الأخيرة، قالت سلطنة عمان إنها تلعب دوراً في تقريب وجهات النظر بين الفلسطينيين والإسرائيليين لحل القضية الفلسطينية.

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