Thursday, 25 November 2010

The Queen’s visit to Oman

Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom begins a four-day state visit today to mark the 40th anniversary of the reign of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said and the local British residents hope that the tour will boost relations between the people of the two countries.

The Queen, arriving in Muscat from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) after a two-day tour, last visited the Sultanate in 1979. She will have the privilege of seeing major changes that have happened in the Sultanate, from state-of-the-art technologies to international standard infrastructure.

The Queen’s arrival in Oman will delight over 7,000 of her loyal subjects who are living and working in the Sultanate, the largest western expatriate community in the country. All of them hope the visit will boost UK-Oman trade relations.

Stephen Thomas, CEO of Renaissance, cited the trade treaty of 1800 that cemented commercial activities between the two countries. An earlier one dates back even further to the year 1645, according to archives available with the Ministry of National Heritage.

In the context of this enduring friendship, it is entirely appropriate that Queen Elizabeth should want to pay a state visit to His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said and the people of Oman at the time of the 40th National Day celebrations. This reflects the highest standing of the relations between the two countries,” the Renaissance CEO, said.

Ross Cormack, CEO of Nawras Telecommunications, says he is proud, as a British national that the relations between the UK and Oman stretch back centuries and the bond is still strong today.

British businesses and citizens have contributed in many ways to the development of Oman over the years and will enjoy the fruits of the Queen’s visit to mark the 40th anniversary of His Majesty’s rule. Relationships flourish on many levels and not only between nations but also to touch the hearts of individuals,” said Cormack.

Kevin Hasler, General Manager of ZEENAH PR, said the visit will be one of the highlights of the 40th anniversary celebrations and the British expatriate community is already buzzing with excitement.

The Sultanate and the UK have enjoyed exceptionally close ties for the past 40 years. The fact that the Queen and Prince Philip will spend so long in Oman is a clear testament to the continued strength of the special relationship between the two countries. A visit of this length will also enable both the countries to build even stronger economic ties and enhance trade and prosperity between the nations,” Kevin Hassler, said.

But the Queen’s arrival is also about acknowledging the increasingly influential role His Majesty has prominently played in the international arena. His Majesty is considered by many in the West as a powerful figure in the Gulf region and also seen as the most progressive leader as well, foreign diplomats based in Muscat, said.

His Majesty the Sultan has become a major peace arbitrator in the regional political affairs. The Queen’s visit is a direct recognition of this fact,” an European diplomat, said.

Times of Oman

The historical relations between the two countries date back to the time of the Ya’aariba Imams in Oman. During the reign of Sayyid Sultan bin Ahmed (1792-1804), the two countries signed an agreement on 12th October 1798, under which Sayyid Sultan pledged his support to the British government on issues of global concern. On 18th January 1800, another pact was inked between the two countries, which intended to beef up the 1798 agreement. According to an agreement in 1804, signed on behalf of the British government by John Malcolm, assistant to the British Resident at Hyderabad, India, Sayyid Sultan bin Ahmed allowed Britain to set up a British agency in Muscat.

The British consulate in the Sultanate was established in 1800 during the reign of Sayyid Sultan Ahmed bin Said. It is also a fact that Sultan Said bin Taimour attended the coronation of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 1953.

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