Netanyahu, Israeli officials make one-day visit to Sultan Qaboos in Oman

Israel's Netanyahu meets Sultan Qaboos in surprise Oman trip

Among the issues discussed were how to advance the Middle East peace process, along with several matters of common interest, according to the prime minister's office.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Sultan Qaboos of Oman have met in Muscat, marking a major elevation in ties between the discreet Gulf state and Israel.

Netanyahu and his wife were joined on the trip by the head of Mossad, Israel's intelligence agency, his foreign ministry director, and other defense officials.

Earlier this week, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas also paid a three-day visit to Oman.

The meeting was the first of its kind between leaders of the two countries since 1996.

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Oman's foreign minister visited Israel in 1995.

The visit came at the invitation of Sultan Qaboos and followed "lengthy contacts between the two countries", the statement said.

"A special visit in Oman - we're making history!"

"Israel is a state present in the region, and we all understand this", bin Alawi said. "The Palestinians are taking a strong position against the Trump administration and Netanyahu and yet they have to talk to the Israelis". Relations soured further when the USA cut funding to the UN's refugee agency for Palestinians and booted the Palestine Liberation Organization from its Washington office. Although it is a member of the Saudi-led six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council, it did not join the kingdom in its boycott of Qatar or the war in Yemen.

However, Netanyahu and senior officials have in recent months boasted of secret ties with Arab states, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

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Arab states, including Oman, remain publicly committed to calls for a Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital.

Like most Arab countries, Oman does not have formal diplomatic relations with Israel and it is rare for an Israeli leader to visit any of the neighbouring Middle Eastern countries.

In another sign of warming ties between Israel and Arab states, Israel's judo team is set for the first time to participate at an worldwide competition in the UAE under their national flag.

Former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin made the first visit by an Israeli premier to Oman in 1994.

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