UNGA pays tribute to His Majesty Sultan Qaboos
UN secretary general praised the former leader for prioritising cooperation and multilateralism
The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), on Friday paid tribute to His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said, who led Oman for nearly half a century and passed away on January 10 at age 79. UN secretary general António Guterres praised the Late Sultan as a leader who prioritised cooperation and multilateralism, earning the respect of his people and those far beyond.
“Today, we remember and pay homage to the many roads he built - the road of dialogue, the road of understanding, the road of peace,” Guterres said, noting that His Majesty Sultan Qaboos led Oman to join the United Nations, the League of Arab States and the Gulf Cooperation Council. With leadership and commitment, he worked to shape Oman as an active, responsible member of the international family, and under his watch, Oman remained largely immune from the tensions of the region.”
“Indeed, Sultan Qaboos was well regarded for spreading messages of peace, understanding and coexistence far beyond his country’s borders,” Guterres said, noting that Oman has consistently played a critical role in ensuring communication among disputing parties. Within his beloved country, his vision for Oman saw levels of education for women and men rise exponentially - with a manifold increase in schools, hospitals and roads.
Extending his best wishes to His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik, who, while grieving the death of his cousin, has taken over the leadership of Oman, Guterres said he has every hope that Oman’s contributions to regional and international diplomacy will continue.
He expressed the UN’s steadfast support for Oman’s continued efforts to promote peace
and stability in the region.
UN General Assembly President Tijjani Muhammad Bande (Nigeria) said His Majesty Sultan Qaboos will be remembered for
his fundamental role in the modernisation and industrialisation of Oman, including the foresight to recognise that education has the potential to lift the whole society.
As he was a progressive leader on climate action, a promoter of religious tolerance and a peacemaker, Bande expressed hope that member states will
honour His Majesty Sultan Qaboos by emulating his efforts, which reflect the founding ideals of the UN.
Kokou Kpayedo (Togo), speaking for the African States, hailed His Majesty Sultan Qaboos as an emblematic figure on the global stage, and a visionary deeply committed to advancing his country and the well-being of his people.
Noting that Oman ranked highest in the Middle East in the 2019 Human Development Report, he said that His Majesty Sultan Qaboos understood that friendship and cooperation are the highway to success.
“Having made Oman a bridge between the Arab, Western and African worlds, His Majesty Sultan Qaboos forged the links between Oman and most African countries, organising conferences with Horn of Africa countries, and building hospitals and schools around the continent. An artisan of peace, a role in which he staked success on neutrality, the Late Sultan was a globally renowned mediator, having received the Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding in 2004.”
Noor Qamar Sulaiman of Brunei, speaking for the Asia-Pacific Group, noted His Majesty Sultan Qaboos’ reign spanned almost five decades, making him the longest-serving Arab leader.
In that time, he led his country with wisdom and vision, guiding Oman through difficult challenges and laying the foundations for modernisation, developing its infrastructure, education and healthcare systems.
A lifelong devotion brought about remarkable social and economic progress that transformed Oman into one of the most stable and prosperous countries in the Middle East, while preserving its rich national heritage and culture, she said.
Yashar Aliyev of Azerbaijan, speaking on behalf of the Eastern European States, said His Majesty Sultan Qaboos paved the way for Oman’s well-being and development.
A great leader and genuine statesmen, his lifelong contributions to international affairs and support for dialogue processes in the Middle East were critical to building trust in times of turmoil, he said, recalling the Late Sultan’s description of Oman’s foreign policy as ‘defined with clarity, a hand building from within, and a hand offered in goodness, giving, continued participation in the world’s events and development’.
Christine R Bailey of Jamaica, speaking on behalf of Latin American and Caribbean States, said the region has lost a leader and the father of the Omani Renaissance.
When he ascended to the throne in 1970, Oman was isolated, had six miles of paved roads, three public schools and minimal medical care. Since then, life expectancy climbed to 77 years from 50 years, literacy is at 96 per cent and Oman’s achievements include highways, public utilities, high-speed Internet and world-class sports and cultural centres. An advocate for gender equality, he leaves behind an enduring legacy in foreign policy.
Mohamed al Hassan from Oman thanked delegates for their condolences, and said that His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said was the father of his country’s renaissance, who spent 50 years working tirelessly.
“He loved his people, and his people returned the love,” he said, adding that his legacy will live on forever. “No speech will do enough justice to the deceased and what he has done for his country,” Hassan added.
We remember and pay homage to many roads he built - road of dialogue, road of understanding
The UN General Assembly pays tribute to His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said