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Trump administration looks to Oman for help navigating Middle East

US officials, while wary about Oman's ties with Iran, seek Oman's assistance in resolving Qatar dispute.
Oman's Foreign Minister Yusuf bin Alawi waves as he arrives to attend a meeting of Foreign Ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia March 30, 2017. REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser - RTX33EVF

On July 18 — three days before US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson hosted his Omani counterpart, Yusuf bin Alawi, in Washington — Sultan Qaboos became the latest Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) head of state to speak directly with US President Donald Trump.

In their conversation, Trump stressed the urgency of countering Iran’s ascendancy shortly after Washington implemented new sanctions on Iranian individuals and businesses despite the Trump administration's certifying Tehran’s compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), at the same time maintaining that Iran has breached the JCPOA's “spirit.” This call also came one week after Alawi visited Tehran to discuss the ongoing Qatar crisis after he spoke by phone with Tillerson about Qatar and Yemen.

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