Russian FM visits Oman to discuss Ukraine, trade

Russia’s foreign minister Sergey Lavrov visited Oman to discuss a range of issues including the Ukraine conflict, trade, and migration.

The two countries announced on Wednesday a mutual visa exemption program, amid a wider package of bilateral agreements, the Oman News Agency (ONA) reported.

Oman’s Sultan Haitham bin Tariq Al Said met with Lavrov and stressed the need to adhere to the rules of international law in Russia’s conflict with Ukraine.

He also urged parties to intensify efforts to reach political and diplomatic solutions through dialogue “in a manner that preserves the independence, sovereignty, and sound coexistence of countries and peoples,” according to ONA.

The two also discussed the ongoing conflict between Palestine and Israel, with Lavrov stressing Russia’s belief in the importance of negotiations between the two sides.

Lavrov also extended President Vladimir Putin’s good wishes.

He also expressed Russia’s wish for Syria to return to the Arab League, saying that he believes Oman can help with this goal.

Syria lost its Arab League seat in 2011 after civil war erupted. Russia is one of the Assad government’s main backers in the ongoing conflict.

The Russian diplomat also discussed bolstering trade ties between the two countries.

It was his first visit to the Gulf country since 2016, Russia’s TASS news agency reported.

Lavrov also met with a number of officials, and gave a joint press conference with foreign minister Sayyid Badr bin Hamad al-Busaidi.

For his part, al-Busaidi said that Oman is “following with great interest the situation in Ukraine and calls on all parties to exercise restraint and resolve differences peacefully in order to avoid aggravating the situation.”

He also commented on the negotiations over a proposed Iranian nuclear deal.

Oman supports all international efforts that work to make the negotiations a success, ONA reported al-Busaidi as saying.

“We do not blame any party for disrupting the negotiations, but we support dialogue and direct talk,” al-Busaidi added.

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