Iran and Oman to strengthen ties amid Gulf cri­sis

Pres­i­dent Rouhani slams block­ade against Qatar

Kuwait Times - - FRONT PAGE -

Iran and Oman will work to boost their ties, the Is­lamic repub­lic’s Pres­i­dent Has­san Rouhani said yes­ter­day, as a diplo­matic cri­sis per­sists in the Gulf. “Iran and Oman have for years had fra­ter­nal re­la­tions and the best must be made of these good re­la­tions to re­in­force them,” Rouhani said as he met Oman’s for­eign min­is­ter. The Ira­nian gov­ern­ment’s web­site re­ported For­eign Min­is­ter Yussef Bin Alawi as re­ply­ing: “Omani lead­ers be­lieve our ties should be de­vel­oped.”

The re­marks come after Saudi Ara­bia, the United Arab Emi­rates, Bahrain and Egypt last month sev­ered ties with Qatar, ac­cus­ing it of back­ing ex­trem­ism and be­ing too close to Riyadh’s arch-ri­val Tehran. They im­posed a se­ries of iso­la­tion mea­sures on Qatar in­clud­ing cut­ting air, land and mar­itime links to the small gas-rich emi­rate. Oman, which has main­tained ties with Qatar, took part this week in a string of Kuwaiti and US-led talks to­wards re­solv­ing the cri­sis. Rouhani slammed the sanctions im­posed by the Riyadh-led group on Doha, which Qatar has called a “block­ade”.

“Threat­en­ing, pres­sur­ing and im­pos­ing a block­ade against neigh­bors, in­clud­ing Qatar, is an er­ro­neous method and ev­ery­one must try to re­duce the ten­sions in the re­gion,” he said. He also crit­i­cized “the poli­cies of cer­tain coun­tries in the re­gion against Syria, Yemen and Bahrain”, in what ap­peared to be a ref­er­ence to Saudi Ara­bia. Iran reg­u­larly de­nounces bomb­ings of Iran-backed Huthi rebels by a Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, where is has ac­cused the coalition of blockad­ing ports. Tehran also ac­cuses Riyadh and its al­lies of sup­port­ing rebels and ji­hadists in Syria and Iraq, where it backs Da­m­as­cus and Bagh­dad. Iran in­creased its food im­ports to Qatar after its Gulf neigh­bors cut trans­port links to the emi­rate.—AFP

TEHRAN: In this photo re­leased by of­fi­cial web­site of the of­fice of the Ira­nian Pres­i­dency, Ira­nian Pres­i­dent Has­san Rouhani, right, speaks with Omani For­eign Min­is­ter Yousuf bin Alawi, left, with an uniden­ti­fied trans­la­tor, cen­ter, dur­ing their meet­ing in Tehran, Iran, yes­ter­day. — AP

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