Omani Minister of Foreign Affairs Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah said that he has already told Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem and members of the Syrian National Council that “they need to reexamine their opinions, because killing, destructing and displacing Syrian civilians are unacceptable.”
He stressed that “the Syrian people are the ones who decide” the future of the regime and President Bashar al-Assad.
In an interview with Al-Hayat, Bin Alawi said that the Sultanate of Oman’s policy is not to interfere in other countries’ internal affairs, adding that Oman “has provided humanitarian assistance to the Syrian people,” particularly the refugees.
He noted that the meeting held in New York between the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) ministers and their Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, showed conflicting positions regarding the Syrian crisis. He explained that while “Russia has called for a dialogue between the Syrian government and the opposition, the GCC has called for the departure of the Syrian regime.”
Bin Alawi refused to give any details about the meeting between the GCC ministers and the United States Secretary of State [Hillary Clinton], because it was “confidential,” as he termed it.
As for the establishment of safe zones in Syria, Bin Alawi said that “the UN Security Council is responsible for that and can mandate their establishment if it wants.”
Bin Alawi said: “Many of [Oman’s] problems, for which we do not know the causes, come about as a result of religious issues.”
He also praised [Saudi] King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz’s call to establish a center for dialogue between Islamic sects.
When asked about his stance regarding the fear expressed by Yemen as a result of Iran’s threats to close the Strait of Hormuz and control the Bab el-Mandeb strait [between Yemen on the Arabian Peninsula, Djibouti and Eritrea, north of Somalia, in the Horn of Africa; connecting the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden], Bin Alawi responded that “the Strait of Hormuz is open and the Bab el-Mandeb strait is too. These straits are international and no one can close them.”
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