JERUSALEM (AA) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday paid a surprise visit to Oman.
“The prime minister and his wife visited Oman, where they met [Omani] Sultan Qaboos bin Said,” read a statement from Netanyahu’s office.
According to the same statement, the visit comes at the sultan’s invitation.
The statement goes on to describe the visit as a “significant step” towards implementing Netanyahu’s stated policy of bolstering ties — economic and otherwise — with “moderate” Arab states.
According to a joint statement issued after the meeting, the two leaders discussed “means of advancing the Mideast peace process and several issues of common concern”.
Netanyahu’s visit to Oman is the second by an Israeli prime minister, the first having been made in 1994 by late Israeli Premier Yitzhak Rabin.
In 1995, then Prime Minister Shimon Peres hosted Omani Foreign Minister Yousef bin Alawi in Jerusalem.
Although Israel and Oman do not have diplomatic relations, the two countries agreed in 1996 to open commercial representation offices.
Muscat, however, suspended relations again following the outbreak of the second Palestinian Intifada in 2000.