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World leaders pay tribute to Oman’s leader

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Oman’s Sultan Qaboos bin Said waits for the French President FranÁois Mitterrand’s arrival, on January 30, 1992 at the Muscat airport. (Photo by Gerard FOUET / AFP)

World leaders paid homage to Sultan Qaboos of Oman, who died at the age of 79, as a wise and moderate leader and a champion of Arab and Islamic nations.

Qaboos, who ruled since 1970 when he deposed his father in a palace coup, had been ill for some time and had been believed to be suffering from colon cancer.

His successor, Haitham bin Tariq, has already pledged to maintain the kingdom’s non-interference policy that made Oman a vital regional mediator.

Here are some of the main tributes by world leaders.

EU: ‘Vision and pragmatism’
A joint European Commission-European Union statement praised Qaboos’s “sense of pragmatism and his unparallelled savoir-faire”.

Under his leadership, “Oman embarked on an unprecedented era of reforms that improved the living standards for the Omani people”, the statement said.

“His vision steered a foreign policy that placed Oman among the European Union’s closest partners, in a region mired in conflict and gripped by tensions.”

Germany: ‘A good friend’
Qaboos’s death meant “the loss of a good friend for Germany”, a statement from President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said.

“Sultan Qaboos was a responsible actor for mutual understanding and compromise in the Middle East and Gulf region. His word was widely heeded”.

Turkey: ‘An important figure‘ –
The late sultan “made great efforts for the welfare and development of Oman as well as being an important figure in the politics of the region”, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan tweeted.

Iran: ‘loss for the region’
Sultan Qaboos’s death was “a loss for the region”, said Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, tweeting in Arabic.

Congratulating Oman on its choice of His Majesty Haitham bin Tariq as his successor, he hoped their relations would continue to grow.

Syria: ‘Great wisdom’
Qaboos led Oman “on a path of progress and advancement and managed with great wisdom and sophistication to create a distinguished place for the country among Arab states,” said Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad.

Oman is the only Gulf Cooperation Council member state to have maintained diplomatic relations with Damascus since the start of the war.

Iraq: ‘Moderation and wisdom’
Iraqi President Barham Saleh paid tribute to the late sultan’s “moderation and wisdom and the ability to control differences in the interest of the development and progress of our countries and region”.

Lebanon: ‘Man of dialogue‘ –
“With the loss of Sultan Qaboos, the Arab world loses a man of dialogue, wisdom, and peace,” Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun wrote on Twitter, paying tribute to “a brother and a friend to Lebanon”.

Qaboos “always worked towards Arab unity and the strengthening of (Arab) solidarity — in the face of the challenges that threaten our countries and peoples”.

Kuwait: ‘A very important figure’
“The Gulf, Arab and Islamic nations lost a very important figure and leader,” said Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah.

The leaders of Saudi Arabia and Qatar also offered their condolences.

Jordan: ‘a wise leader’
“We have lost a wise leader in my brother His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said of Oman,” said a statement from King Abdullah II of Jordan on Twitter.

He paid tribute to Qaboos’s role in “defending Arab and Islamic causes”.

Egypt: ‘Pioneer’
Qaboos was “a constant supporter of Arab and Islamic issues in various situations, and the pioneer of Oman’s renaissance”, wrote Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

Abbas: ‘Wisdom and balance‘ –
“Our Arab and Islamic nation lost today, a leader and leader of its finest men,” said Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas.

Qaboos “devoted his life to serving his country and people and the issues of the Arab and Islamic nations with wisdom and balance,” he added.

Britain: ‘Exceptionally wise‘ –
“He was an exceptionally wise and respected leader who will be missed enormously,” said British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

“He will be remembered for his devotion to the development of Oman into a stable and prosperous nation, and as the father of the nation who sought to improve the lives of the Omani people.”

– ‘A stable force’ –

“He was a stable force in the Middle East and a strong US ally,” said former US president George W. Bush in his tribute to Qaboos.

“His Majesty had a vision for a modern, prosperous, and peaceful Oman, and he willed that vision into reality.”


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