Can Oman help pour oil on the troubled waters of the Gulf?

The Saudi interior minister has arrived in Oman on a two-day visit which is is expected to include discussions on the Yemen conflict, the Qatar crisis at[Text unreadable in original source.] Mohammed bin Naif bin Abdulaziz will hold talks with his Omani counterpart, Yusuf bin Abdulla Alawi, and other senior officials on "bilateral relations concern", the official Oman News Agency (ONA) said.

According to an Omani political analyst and foreign diplomat based in the country, the discussions are likely to focus on Omani mediation in the GCC crisis as well as Yemen and Iran. 'This meeting only means that Saudi Arabia now realises how important Oman is to [resolving] the crises in the Gulf," the analyst, who works at a think tank in Muscat, told The National. "The Saudis know that Oman can mediate solutions Riyadh is looking for in Qatar, Yemen and Iran. The Sultanate has certain influence on these countries and this is the feeling in Riyadh."

Oman has played the role of mediator between the warring parties in Yemen, where Saudi Arabia leads a military coalition fighting Iran-backed rebels since 2015, and in the dispute with Qatar over Doha's support for terrorism.

Prince Abdulaziz's visit underscored Muscat's unique role in the Middle East's political order as a diplomatic bridge between the Sunni Arab states and their[Text unreadable in original source.] side and the Iranians on the other.


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