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Syrian FM in rare Oman visit amid heightened diplomacy - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Omani Foreign Minister Yusuf Bin Alawi (R) meets with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Al-Mouallem (L) in Muscat, Oman, on August 6, 2015. (EPA/HAMID AL-QASMI)

Omani Foreign Minister Yusuf Bin Alawi (R) meets with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Al-Mouallem (L) in Muscat, Oman, on August 6, 2015. (EPA/HAMID AL-QASMI)

Dubai and Beirut, Reuters—Syria’s Foreign Minister Walid Al-Mouallem made his first visit to the Gulf in more than four years on Thursday, meeting his Omani counterpart in Muscat for talks on ways to end the civil war in his country.

The visit, his first to the Gulf since his country descended into conflict in 2011, coincides with heightened diplomatic efforts to end the four-year conflict in Syria.

Oman sees itself as a conciliator in a volatile region and has a history of constructive relations with Syria’s close ally Iran.

In the meeting, Mouallem and Omani Foreign Minister Yusuf Bin Alawi agreed it was time to bring together “constructive efforts” to end the crisis, the Syrian state news agency SANA said.

It reported that the men said any solution “should be based on meeting the aspirations of the Syrian people in the fight against terrorism” and should ensure the stability, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria, SANA said.

Mouallem was accompanied by Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad, SANA said.

Mouallem visited Tehran earlier in the week for talks on the war amid increased efforts by Iran and Russia, both allies of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, to end the conflict and build a wide international alliance against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Syrian state TV quoted Mouallem as saying on the visit that Syria supported any efforts to combat ISIS if they were coordinated with Damascus, but anything else would “be a breach of Syrian sovereignty”.

Iran and Russia have stood by Assad, providing military and financial support during the conflict. The United States and some of its Gulf Arab allies have said Assad must leave office.

During Mouallem’s visit to Tehran on Wednesday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani reiterated “Iran’s unwavering support for the Syrian nation in the face of terror groups”, Iranian state media reported.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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