Khalid Bin Salman has met the Sultan of Oman on a surprise visit. Did it have anything to do with the Yemen file and was the case of Al-Mahrah discuss

Surprise Saudi visit to Oman, what was on the docket?

Saudi Deputy Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman met with Oman's Sultan Qaboos bin Saeed in the Omani capital Muscat on Monday, after holding a talk Oman's Minister of Defense and Oman's Royal Office, in the first of a kind visit of a Saudi official to Oman since the Prince became involved in the Yemen file. Prince Khalid bin Salman discussed bilateral relations and joint efforts to protect the security of the region, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said.

The SPA announced earlier yesterday the arrival of the Deputy Minister of Defense in the Omani capital, accompanied by the Chief of Staff of the Saudi Army, Gen. Fayadh Hamid and the Suadi ambassador to Yemen Mohammed Al Jaber. They were received at the airport by the Omani Minister of Defence, the Chief of Staff of the Sultan's Forces, Lt. Gen. Rakan Ahmed bin Harith al-Nabhani and commander of the Omani Royal Army Major General Matar bin Salem al-Balushi.

According to the SPA, during the meeting discussions focused on Saudi-Omani bilateral relations and “all areas and the common interests of the two brotherly countries… and ways to strengthen the joint efforts to fight Extremism and terrorism, and ways to support the ongoing military cooperation between the two countries and developments on the regional and international arenas."

No further details were announced regarding the meeting nor and the purpose of the surprise visit of the Saudi official, but Muscat is known as the most prominent mediator of the Yemeni file. Oman is known to have a relationship with the Houthis and where the Houthis’ negotiating delegation resides. Oman is also having a strong association with protesters currently protesting the Saudi presence in Al-Mahra governorate, which shares a border with Oman..

In recent years, Oman has maintained close relations with the recognized Yemeni government, and through informal relations with the unrecognized Houthi government. It has played a key role in the release of foreign detainees held by the Houthis.  It has also been known to sponsor secret consultations that have in the past brought together Houthis and senior U.S. officials.

The visit comes days after the signing of the Riyadh Agreement, whose successful signing is attributed to the efforts of Prince Khalid bin Salman, who was assigned to the Yemen fiel earlier this year.

The visit also comes amid an unannounced talk between the Houthis and Saudi Arabia, which has coincided with secret negotiations between the Houthis through intermediaries. Leaked information referring to the secret talks has not been denied by either Saudi Arabia or the Houthis. 

It is noteworthy that last month Omani media reported that the Deputy Prime Minister for Relations and International Cooperation and the Special Representative of the Sultan, Asaad bin Tariq Al Said, received handwritten letters from Mohammed bin Salman, as well as from  Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the UAE Armed Forces.


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