In interview to Russia Today channel, Bin Alawi says satisfied over relations with Moscow

Omani foreign minister: Oman and Russia see eye to eye on many issues of the region

Oman, Britain co-stress need to achieve progress to establish Palestinian state

Sultanate’s oil production up to 859,000 barrels per day

AIDMO report hails Oman’s policies in expanding resources of income

HE Yousuf Bin Alawi Bin Abdullah, Minister Responsible for Foreign Affairs in Oman, hailed the improvement in the relations between the Sultanate and Russia.

Alawi said there are wider horizons to enhance the ties. In a statement to ‘Decision Makers’ Russian TV program, he expressed satisfaction over the bond between the Sultanate and Russia and called for enhancing economic and trade relations.

He expressed his satisfaction over the level of relations between the Sultanate and Russia and called for enhancing economic and trade relations between the two countries. He also called for activating the agreements and Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) signed between the two friendly countries during this period as this will make an impressive achievement in the relationship between the two countries.

In his statement, he affirmed that the Sultanate now focuses on developing tourism sector and that both countries seek to create a proper tourism environment that would be part of the relations that have good return for both sides within the framework of expanded economic cooperation.

He pointed out that a tourism office has been opened in the Sultanate's embassy in Russia.

As for the cooperation in the field of education, he affirmed that this field comes within the framework of joint work and that there are a considerable number of Omani students studying at the Russian Universities. Work is underway to expand the cooperation with the Russian universities in terms of quality and quantity.

As for the Omani-Iranian relations, he added that Iran is a country that seeks peace and desires to create an environment where all unsolved problems can be solved. He pointed out that the Omani-Iranian relations are historic, old, developing and based on deep mutual trust.

As for the Iranian nuclear file, he added that Iran seeks to reach an agreement with Group 5+1 on its nuclear file but each party has a vision and all these visions have not reached a common ground as yet.

The Omani foreign minister affirmed that the constructive dialogue between Iran and the IAEA and 5+1 Group may lead at the end to an agreement or going forward towards an agreement.

Bin Alawi also believed that the sanctions in most cases in general do not solve problems but rather complicate them. He believed that while sanctions are there, dialogue and negotiations should constantly be pushed so that they will eventually lead to a compromise and solutions for all the issues of difference.

Alawi said the Sultanate is now focusing on developing tourism sector and a tourism office has been opened in the Sultanate’s embassy in Russia.

Alawi said both parties agreed on cooperation in many fields during the meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

He said there are several Omani students studying in the Russian Universities.

“Work is underway to expand the cooperation with the Russian universities in this regard,” Alawi said. environment where all unsolved problems can be solved. He said the ever-improving ties with Iran are historic and based on deep mutual trust.

Alawi hoped that the constructive dialogue between Iran and the IAEA and 5+1 Group may lead to an lasting agreement on nuclear issue.

Alawi said the sanctions in most cases do not solve problems but rather complicate them. He called for dialogue and negotiations to solve the issue.

Minister Alawi had met last week with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov.

Both ministers expressed their satisfaction over the development of ties between the two countries. They also discussed issues of common concern.

The meeting was attended by HE Mohammed Bin Awad Al Hassan, the Sultanate’s Ambassador to Russia, and members of the Omani delegation.

Meanwhile, HE Sayyid Badr Bin Hamoud Al Busaidi, Secretary-General at the Foreign Affairs Ministry, and William Jefferson Hague, British Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, said the audience with His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said was warm and productive at Bait Al Barakah on Saturday.

Hague set out the government’s ambition to reinforce ties with the Gulf region, especially with the Sultanate.

Both sides in a joint press conference addressed by Badr Busaidi and Hague, valued the history of partnership between the Sultanate and the UK, stemmed from the Treaty of Friendship signed between the two countries in the year 1800 and subsequent agreements.

Both sides agreed that they should continue building bilateral relations for the future, as well as expand the existing cooperation between them across the board, including in culture, education, defense and security, trade and investment and foreign policy. They also decided to establish a joint steering committee to take this forward. They agreed on boosting trade links that would benefit the two countries’ economies.

There was also a good discussion of current foreign policy issues in the region. There was an agreement on the importance of success in delivering a stable Afghanistan able to mange its own security.

On the Middle East, the two sides agreed on the need for urgent progress towards a two state solution – a viable Palestinian state alongside a secure Israel – and on the importance of a peaceful resolution of Iran’s nuclear issue and the full implementation of all relevant UN Security Council resolutions. The situation in Yemen was also discussed.

Later, William Hague concluded his visit. He was seen off at the Royal Airport by Badr Busaidi and HE Dr Noel Joseph Guckian, the UK Ambassador to the Sultanate.

His Majesty Sultan Qaboos gave an audience at Bait Al Barakah to British Foreign Secretary Hague in Muscat last week.

The meeting discussed aspects of the existing bilateral cooperation between the two friendly countries and matters of common concern.

Meanwhile, the Omani ministry of national economy said that the country's average oil production rose by 8.8 percent to 859,400 barrels per day in the first five months of this year compared to the same period in 2009.

The growth extends a rising trend as the sultanate has managed to reverse a decline in oil output, boosting production in both 2008 and 2009.

For 2010 as a whole, it has said it expects to produce an average of 870,000 bpd, about 8 percent more than last year's average.

On the other hand, the Arab Industrial Development and Mining Organization (AIDMO) said in its third Arab Industrial Report that the Sultanate’s economy has performed well for the sixth consecutive year in spite of the global financial crisis.

The report attributes the good performance of the economy to the high global oil prices and the public investment strategies which aim to diversify the country’s economy.

The Arab Industrial Report addresses industrial development in Arab countries during 2008-09 and is third in a series of reports prepared by AIDMO.

The report highlights the Sultanate’s keenness to pursue a policy of broad diversification of the country’s economy in order to ease reliance on energy resources and give priority to large investments in infrastructure, services, oil and manufacturing industries.

The report noted that Oman’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew over the last 35 years to hit $18,000 in 2008. Large investments by the Government have helped develop non-oil sectors such as tourism, services, trade, manufacturing and manufacturing.

The GDP of this sector tripled during the period form 2004 to 2008 to hit $6.4 billion in 2008 compared to $2.1 billion in 2004.

The economic expansion is mainly due to strong growth in the petrochemical sector, which represents 65 per cent of the combined gross domestic product of the manufacturing sector, according to 2008 estimates.

Although petrochemicals sector is the largest sector in the Sultanate, the industrial sector is diversified and includes other sectors like food industries, cement, aluminum and steel.

The report pointed out that the Sultanate encourages the development of manufacturing industries by promoting private sector participation in infrastructure, transport and energy projects.

The report says food industry, fishing, aluminum, steel and mining are among the industries that require special attention.

The Government has declared an investment of $5 billion in order to attract private players in these sectors.

The Sultanate is also encouraging the mining industry through the sale of more public shares to the private sector, particularly in the manufacture of gold and copper due to strong demand.

Omani exports performed well in 2008 because of the rapid development of the Sultanate’s non-oil exports. The report says the value of total commodity exports amounted to $38 billion in 2008 compared to $25 billion in 2007.

Omani exports are mainly petroleum products, accounting for 76 per cent of total exports. Oil exports rose 52 per cent in 2008 to hit $29 billion.

Non-oil exports posted average annual growth of 35 per cent between 2004 and 2008. Non-oil exports rose record 48 per cent in 2008. This is attributed to growth in exports of chemicals and petrochemicals, which increased 74 per cent growth between 2007 and 2008.

The report projects the Sultanate’s economy will grow by about 7.3 per cent in 2010 compared to 3 per cent growth posted in 2009. The rate of inflation will reach 5.2 per cent in 2010 as against 5.3 per cent in 2008, the report says.

The Industrial Report said foreign direct investment inflow into the Sultanate will rise due to the growing confidence of foreign investors who are attracted by the launch of the liberalization program in the country.

AIDMO was established in a summit in Kuwait 1966 when the Arab League Council decided to set up an organization to improve and develop industry in general. The decision was approved by the Arab Economic Council in 1968. The headquarters was decided to be established in Cairo.

In 1975, the Arab Ministries of Industries decided to free the organization from Arab League influence and was claimed as an independent organization. The organization's headquarters was moved from Cairo to Tunis temporarily from 1979 to 1980.