Oman has agreed to forge trade ties with Israel, becoming the first Persian Gulf nation to establish relations with the Jewish state.
The decisions to exchange trade representative came during a Saturday night meeting at the United Nations between Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and his Omani counterpart, Yusef Ben Alawi. The two were in New York for the U.N. General Assembly.
Israel’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Israel and Oman would cooperate in the fields of agriculture, medicine, telecommunications and water projects.
In December, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin visited Oman for discussions with the country’s ruler, Sultan Qaboos Bin said. It was the highest-level contact between Israel and a Persian Gulf state.
Foreign Minister Shimon Peres also met his Qatari counterpart last week and discussed the possibility of developing commercial ties during what was their third such meeting, Israel Radio reported.
Oman, along with the five other members of the Gulf Cooperation Council – Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Qatar – does not maintain official diplomatic ties with the Jewish state.
The Saudi-dominated council has stated that any normalization to ties with Israel would depend on the reaching of a comprehensive Middle East peace.