Oman has opened its airspace to overflights by Israeli planes, Foreign Minister Eli Cohen stated on Thursday.
“This historic decision will reduce flying times from Israel to Asia and slash ticket rates. I appreciate Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu,” the National Security Council, and the Director General of the Foreign Ministry,” Cohen stated.
“I appreciate the Sultan of Oman, Haitham bin Tariq Al Said, and our American friends for their significant contributions to the success of the move,” he continued.
The announcement comes after months of negotiations between the Foreign Ministry and Oman’s government, as well as after Saudi Arabia last July announced during U.S. President Joe Biden’s visit to Israel that it had opened its airspace to “all carriers,” allowing Israeli commercial airlines to fly over the kingdom.
The Saudi move had until now mostly served as a show of force because Oman’s approval was also needed to reduce travel times between Israel and nations like India and China.
“The Far East is not so far away, and the sky are no longer the limit. Great news for Israeli aviation has been announced today. Hence, Israel has evolved into the primary transit country connecting Asia and Europe.”according to Netanyahu
“In order to be able to fly directly to India and then on to Australia, we have worked to open the airspace, first over Saudi Arabia and then, starting in 2018, when I visited Oman, also over Oman. After a lot of work, including in the past few months, this was accomplished today. Good news.”says the prime minister
Israel is expanding its ties with the east
During a covert one-day visit to Oman in October 2018, Netanyahu had a meeting with Sultan Qaboos bin Said.
According to Netanyahu’s office at the time, “the visit was an essential step in deepening ties with key players in the area and leveraging Israel’s advantages in security, technology, and economic affairs.”
“We always believed that resolving the Palestinian issue would pave the way for peace with the rest of the Arab world. If you could, it would be true, But it may also imply that what is as true, and perhaps even more so, is that if you open up to the Arab world and normalise relations with them, it will open the door for an eventual reconciliation and peace with the Palestinians.”said Netanyahu
It was an Israeli prime minister’s first visit to Oman since Shimon Peres in 1996.
Neither Oman nor Saudi Arabia have signed the Abraham Accords, which were negotiated by the Trump administration and repaired Israel’s relations with the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco, and Sudan.
Yet, Netanyahu stated on Sunday that he is actively courting Riyadh in order to persuade it to join the accords, which would be a “quantum leap” towards regional peace.
Netanyahu continued, “Clearly, the next step may be not just another country but a quantum leap in enlarging the circle of peace, and I’m talking, of course, about peace with Saudi Arabia. I believe that if we can accomplish this, maybe by incremental measures, maybe it will require certain normalisation steps, it will transform Israel’s relationship with the rest of the Arab world.”
Not the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, but the Israeli-Arab conflict will effectively come to an end as a result, and it will also help normalise Israel’s relationship with a significant portion of the Muslim world, he continued.
Earlier this month, after making a “historic diplomatic visit” to Khartoum and meeting with General Abdel-Fattah al-Burhan, head of Sudan’s transitional government, Cohen disclosed that Israel and Sudan will sign a more comprehensive peace treaty in Washington, D.C., later this year.
According to Cohen, “Today’s visit to Sudan provides the groundwork for a historic peace pact with a strategically important Arab and Muslim country.” The peace accord between Israel and Sudan will advance regional stability and strengthen Israel’s security as a nation.”
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