Omani Foreign Minister Goes Public As He Meets Face to Face with Peres

In a continuing sign that the Arab world is warming up to Israel, the Omani foreign minister met with his Israeli counterpart for the first time this week.

Originally slated as a closed meeting, Omani Foreign Minister Yusuf Bin Alawi agreed at the last minute to allow photographers into his session here with Foreign Minister Shimon Peres on Tuesday.

An Israeli delegation visited the Persian Gulf nation last April to participate in the Middle East multilateral talks on water rights.

The meeting between Peres and Alawi, however, marked the highest public contact between the two states.

While no concrete decisions were reached at the meeting here, the two ministers agreed to continued the dialogue.

Their goal is the future exchange of economic liaison officers, an Israeli Embassy official said.

The latest meeting capped off a whirlwind week in the world of Arab-Israel relations.

Earlier in the week, Tunisia and Israel initiated relations by announcing that the two nations would exchange economic liaison offices.

Last Friday, the Gulf Cooperation Council, including Saudi Arabia and Oman, announced it would end the secondary and tertiary boycotts of Israel and pledged to discuss ending the boycott altogether at the next Arab League meeting.

And last month, Morocco agreed to an exchange of low-level diplomatic officers.

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