Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Friday, September 25th, 2020

Oman Names Culture Minister as Successor to Sultan Qaboos

Oman Names Culture Minister as  Successor to Sultan Qaboos

MUSCAT — Oman announced Saturday culture minister Haitham bin Tariq Al Said as the new ruler of the Gulf Arab country, ending speculation over the mystery of who would succeed longtime ruler Sultan Qaboos bin Said.
The announcement on Omani state television was read over footage showing thousands gathered in the capital, Muscat, for the funeral of Sultan Qaboos who ruled the country for 50 years and did not have any children. His choice of successor was a closely guarded secret believed to have been known only to the sultan.
“It is a sad day in Oman, but also represents a new beginning with a new leader,” a presenter on state TV said soberly.
Qaboos, the Middle East’s longest-ruling monarch, came to power when he deposed his father in a 1970 palace coup. He was known internationally for his diplomatic balancing in the Persian Gulf. Under his leadership, Oman often served as a facilitator of talks between adversaries, including Iran and the U.S.
The new sultan vowed in an address carried on Omani state TV to continue the foreign policy approach of Qaboos, one that he said is based on peaceful coexistence between nations and on non-interference.
Oman, a former British protectorate that sits on the southeastern tip of the Arabian Peninsula across from Iran, is a close ally of Washington and viewed as a valuable regional player. It shares borders with Saudi Arabia, Yemen and the United Arab Emirates.
Qaboos died at the age of 79 from an illness that was never publicly disclosed or confirmed. For years, he’d sought treatment in Germany where he spent eight months between 2014 and 2015.
Following Islamic tradition, he was buried before nightfall.
His successor is a career diplomat whose role as minister of national heritage and culture helped project Omani influence. Local media in the Gulf reported Sultan Haitham is a cousin of Qaboos.
In Yemen, the Houthis, who are at war with Saudi Arabia and the UAE, described him as leader who worked to end the country’s 5-year-old conflict.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Qaboos was “an exceptionally wise and respected leader who will be missed enormously.”
“He leaves a profound legacy, not only in Oman but across the region too,” Johnson said in a statement.
In the United States, former President George W. Bush issued a statement saying Qaboos was “a stable force in the Middle East and a strong U.S. ally.”
“His Majesty had a vision for a modern, prosperous, and peaceful Oman, and he willed that vision into reality,” Bush said, adding that he and his wife visited him in Muscat last fall. (AP News)