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Oman to mediate Israel-PA talks?

Oman’s Foreign Minister arrives in Washington, reportedly to discuss mediation efforts Israel-Palestinian Arab conflict.

Oman’s Foreign Minister, Yusuf bin Alawi, arrived in Washington on Wednesday and is set to discuss mediation efforts in both Yemen as well as in the Israel-Palestinian Arab conflict.

According to The National, Alawi is expected to meet with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on as well as members of Congress.

He will also hold talks with President Donald Trump's advisor to Israel Jason Greenblatt, in a move that underscores Muscat's growing role in the Israel-PA peace process.

In October, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu made a surprise visit to Oman, where he met with Sultan Qaboos bin Said.

Later, Transportation and Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz also visited Oman, where he presented a plan for the construction of a railway between Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf.

Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas also visited Oman in October to explore jump-starting the peace talks with Israel.

Following Netanyahu’s visit to Oman, an unnamed PA official said that the Sultan had offered to play a role in mediating talks between Israel and the PA.

Robert Danin, the former head of the Quartet Mission in Jerusalem, tweeted from Muscat on Tuesday, “Omani officials compellingly explain [that] their recent engagement with senior Israelis and Palestinians reflects a genuine desire to see a true peace and Israel integrated into the Middle East.”

Danin told The National that Alawi’s visit to Washington is a follow-up of Oman's diplomatic outreach.

The sultanate, he explained, is ensuring that its diplomacy vis-a-vis Israel-PA "is synchronized with the Trump administration thinking."

The Trump administration is continuing to prepare its peace plan, which has been dubbed the “Deal of the Century”, though it is not yet clear when it will be unveiled.

The US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley discussed the peace plan during a Security Council debate on Tuesday, saying it “is not just a few pages, containing unspecific and unimaginative guidelines. It is much longer. It contains much more thoughtful detail. It recognizes that realities on the ground in the Middle East have changed in powerful and important ways.”

“This plan will be different from all previous ones,” she continued, while stressing that “there are things in the plan that every party will like, and there are things that every party will not like. That is certainly true for the Israelis and the Palestinians; but it is also true for every country in the world that has taken an interest in this subject.”

Abbas has already rejected the US peace plan before it has even been made public. He has refused to consider the Trump administration an honest broker for negotiations since Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital last December.

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