Oman minister visits Ramallah after Netanyahu talks

Ramallah: An Omani minister met Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas on Wednesday and delivered a letter about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s surprise visit to the Gulf sultanate last week, official Palestinian media said.

Yusuf bin Alawi, minister in charge of foreign affairs, gave Abbas the letter from Oman’s Sultan Qaboos, official Palestinian news agency WAFA said.

It gave no further details on their discussions in Ramallah, in the occupied West Bank.

The Palestinians have been concerned by Israel’s bid for rapprochement with Gulf countries.

Frozen peace efforts and Israel’s continued occupation of Palestinian territory have been obstacles to Israeli attempts to win official recognition from countries in the region.

But there has long been talk of under-the-radar contacts, particularly regarding Iran, which is the enemy both of Israel and Gulf states.

Only two Arab countries — Egypt and Jordan — have full diplomatic relations with Israel.

Netanyahu’s October 25 visit to Oman, which was not announced beforehand, was a major coup for the Israeli premier.

Abbas had also visited Oman in the days before Netanyahu’s trip.

Israel also achieved other milestones in its regional efforts in the days after the premier’s Oman visit.

Israeli Sports Minister Miri Regev toured the UAE’s famed Sheikh Zayed mosque, Israel’s communications minister delivered a speech in Dubai and the Israeli national anthem played at a judo competition in Abu Dhabi.

[source_without_link]Agence France-Presse[/source_without_link]