RIYADH (Dispatches) – Oman’s Sultan visited Saudi Arabia on Sunday on his first official overseas trip since assuming power last year, with talks expected to focus on the Yemen war and economic and investment cooperation as Muscat looks to shore up its finances.
Sultan Haitham bin Tariq al-Said, whose country has joined United Nations-led efforts to secure a peace initiative in Yemen, arrived in the Red Sea city of NEOM for a two-day visit.
He was greeted by Saudi King Salman - in what Saudi-owned media said was the 85-year-old monarch’s first face-to-face meeting since the coronavirus pandemic began - and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Saudi Arabia and Oman will establish a joint council to oversee several agreements, Oman’s foreign minister Badr al-Busaidi told the Saudi-owned Asharq Alawsat newspaper on Saturday.
He said the opening of a delayed new road linking the two Persian Gulf states would facilitate logistics and other infrastructure projects.
The sultanate, which shares borders with Yemen, has intensified diplomatic efforts aimed at putting an end to the Saudi-led war in the impoverished country.
Saudi Arabia, backed by the U.S. and regional allies, launched the devastating war on Yemen in March 2015, with the goal of bringing the government of former Yemeni president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi back to power and crushing Ansarullah.
Yemeni armed forces and allied Popular Committees have, however, gone from strength to strength against the Saudi-led invaders, and left Riyadh and its allies bogged down in the country.
The Saudi war has left hundreds of thousands of Yemenis dead, and displaced millions more. The war has also destroyed Yemen’s infrastructure and spread famine and infectious diseases across the Arab country.