|09MUSCAT833||2009-08-04 08:12:00||UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY||Embassy Muscat|
VZCZCXRO3995 OO RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHDIR RUEHKUK DE RUEHMS #0833 2160810 ZNR UUUUU ZZH O R 040812Z AUG 09 FM AMEMBASSY MUSCAT TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0665 INFO IRAN COLLECTIVE RUEHMS/AMEMBASSY MUSCAT
UNCLAS MUSCAT 000833
1. (U) SUMMARY: As discussed reftel, Sultan Qaboos's deferred visit
to Iran is under way. The trip has now been announced in local and
regional media. In the Omani media, coverage is cautious and
generic, focusing on how the visit reinforces the Sultanate's
steadfast policy of cordiality with all its neighbors. END SUMMARY.
2. (U) Word of the visit first appeared on Monday, August 3 in
London-based "Al Sharq Al Awsat." On Tuesday, August 4, all seven
Omani dailies front-paged the story, all using standard (officially
supplied) language highlighting the visit's place in "His Majesty's
policy of good neighbourliness and relations between the Omani and
Iranian peoples and all peoples of the region," and noting that the
Sultan and Ahmedinejad would "discuss issues of concern for both
sides in the light of regional and national developments." State
news agency ONA's official statement calls the countries' bilateral
relationship "exemplary," saying both nations "act from a profound
belief that constructive dialogue among nations ... achieves mutual
interests, peace, security, and stability." It adds that the two
countries' ties are based on "mutual respect, non interference in
others' internal affairs and fruitful cooperation in various fields."
3. (U) Iranian agencies (but not the Omani press) mention other
meetings, with ISNA noting that the Sultan will be welcomed by
Foreign Minister Mottaki (who discussed the visit with the press in
Tehran on August 3) and Farsnews adding that the itinerary will
include meetings with "a number of senior Iranian officials"
including Supreme Leader Khamenei. Outside the region, to date only
AFP has picked up the story, and only its coverage has placed the
royal visit in the context of the aftermath of Iran's elections and
the inauguration scheduled for August 5.
4. (U) In public statements, both FM Mottaki and the Omani
ambassador in Tehran emphasized the visit's role in promoting
Omani-Iranian ties in light of positive relations among Iran and all
the GCC nations. Mottaki was fulsome in praise of the Sultan's
"wisdom...experience and expertise", while, speaking to the Iranian
press, Ambassador Yahiya al-Oraimi called the trip "a jump towards
prosperity in Iran-Oman relations in all the political, economic and
5. (U) Initial Omani reaction has been muted, with posters on the
popular Al-Sablah 2 Internet forum (omania2.net) wondering at the
visit's timing, what U.S. thinking about it might be, and whether it
might lead to negative portrayals of the Sultanate in U.S. media.
6. (SBU) COMMENT: As expected, Oman is carefully packaging this
visit within larger themes of Omani "neighbourliness" and
international friendship. Initial coverage has closely followed
models set by previous official visits, neither underplaying this
one's significance nor giving any indication that, despite being the
first in some 35 years, it has any special import beyond the
maintenance of "friendly and historic" ties. END COMMENT.