Envoy speak: Oman-Iraq relations flourish in new era
April 13, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Dr Amal Mussa Hussain

Relations between Iraq and the Sultanate of Oman have deep historical ties that date back to the Sumerian period. The name Majan has been stated in many Sumerian tablets which refers to the country Oman. In addition to the deep Arab and religious ties between the two countries, many Omani tribes settled in Basra during the Caliphs' era, particularly the Abbasid and Umayyad Caliphates, such as the Azad, Aljhadm, Hidan, Mawel and Hanai tribes.

Many prominent religious and literary figures, who emerged in Iraq had been originally descended from Omani origins, including Al Khalil bin Ahmad Al Farahidi, was one of the earliest Arab lexicographers.
Today, there is a consistent commonality between the two countries in various perspectives and views about most international and regional issues.

In the past there were wide trade relations between the two countries and many marine trips between Basra and Sohar harbours took place importing and exporting many commercial goods like lemons, Omani gum, Iraqi dates and other goods. While today trade relations have been focused on the private sector through some of the traders and private companies specialised in oil field and building and construction sectors.

Cultural cooperation between Iraq and Oman is strong, too. Many Omani students graduated from different Iraqi universities, especially from the University of Baghdad, and thousands of Omanis visit the shrines and holy sites in Iraq annually.

In return, many Iraqis visit the Sultanate as well. Furthermore, the Iraqi community in Oman is estimated at 6,000 people, who are working in both government and private sectors.

Contemporary diplomatic relations, started during the 1970s, specifically in 1976, when Iraq first launched its embassy in Muscat, and the Omani Embassy opened in Baghdad. There is a joint committee headed by the ministers of transportation of both countries with occasional meetings, most recently in Muscat on May 29, 2005.

Oman never cut the ties with Iraq after the Gulf War. The Sultanate played a remarkable role in the relations between Iraq and Iran in terms of aligning the points of views between the two countries during the Iraqi-Iranian war since it had good relations with both countries.

Oil for Food Programme
The Sultanate has also played an essential role when it occupied a non–permanent seat on the UN Security Council during the mid-1990s and presented the Oil for Food Programme.

The Sultanate also announced its rejection to any military interference against Iraq in 2003.

Oman has supported the new Iraq government and severely objected to the Arab League resolution concerning the suspension of the Iraq as a member.

It has backed most of resolutions issued by the UN Security Council concerning Iraq. Oman is calling through its participation in the international conferences to support the political process in Iraq in order to come up with a united democratic Iraq and has legitimised its governing council and has congratulated the formation of government in the new Iraq.

Oman has received many Iraqi officials during the last few years at different levels, like members of the Iraqi governing council, the national assembly, members of the Iraqi House of Representatives and  members of government  like Dr Ayad Allawi, the former prime minister, and the visit of the Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki in July 2007.

 The Sultanate designated its ambassador in Jordan as a non-resident ambassador of the Sultanate of Oman to Iraq on March 13, 2012.

We hope that there will be a greater role played by the Sultanate to further inve

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