Secretary Reaffirms Strategic Ties with Omani Leaders
WASHINGTON, April 5, 2008 – Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates returned here today after a brief stop in Oman following the NATO summit in Bucharest, Romania.
In the secretary’s first visit to Oman, Gates met with Sultan Qaboos bin Sa'id Al Said at his palace in Muscat during the day-long visit, as well as the country’s Minister Responsible for Defense Affairs Badr bin Saud bin Harib al Busaidi
The sultan and Gates had a long session talking about international issues, a senior U.S. defense official said speaking on background during the return flight home.
Iran and Iraq were the primary topics of the talks, the official said.
In Iran both leaders voiced concerns over Iran’s nuclear program, although Oman takes a more understandable tact given their proximity to Iran, just across its gulf waters. Oman has a “cordial” relationship with Iran and the two countries regularly exchange delegations. Oman and is generally opposed to sanctions, the official said.
Gates reaffirmed that, although the United States keeps all options open, it remains committed to a diplomatic solution to dismantling Iran’s nuclear program.