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Oman Table of Contents


Oman -- Foreign Relations

Oman's foreign policy since the 1970s has been influenced by Qabus ibn Said's determination to reverse the isolationism of Sultan Said ibn Taimur's rule and guardedly to integrate Oman both regionally and internationally. The geostrategic position of the country on the southern shore of the Strait of Hormuz, the imperatives of an oil-dependent economy, and the threats posed by stronger, neighboring regimes, notably Saudi Arabia and Iran, have also shaped the sultan's foreign policy. Oman's foreign policy, as a result of the sultan's goals and the regime's ties to Britain and the United States, has been nonconfrontational and conciliatory to Western interests in the region.

Nonetheless, the regime has displayed an uncommon independence of action in comparison with other Arab gulf states. On several occasions, Oman has acted as a broker in regional disputes. During the Iran-Iraq War (1980-88), the two belligerents conducted cease-fire talks secretly in Muscat. Although no formal agreement resulted, the talks reduced mistrust between the parties. Similarly, after 1988 Oman acted as mediator in the restoration of diplomatic relations between Iran and Britain and Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Data as of January 1993