Chronicle of the Middle East and North Africa

Oman: International orientation

OPEC meeting in Muscat, 2018. (Photo by MOHAMMED MAHJOUB / AFP)

Oman participates in many regional and world organizations. It was a founding member of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in 1981. The other members, all oil producing countries, are Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. Oman is also part of the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region, belonging to the resource-rich and labour importing economies (such as the other GCC countries and Libya). Resource-rich and labour-abundant economies are Algeria, Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen, and resource-poor and labour-abundant economies are Djibouti, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Tunisia, and the West Bank and Gaza.

Oman joined the Arab League and the United Nations in 1971 and the Islamic Conference Organization in 1972. It is one of the fourteen founder members of the Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation (IORARC). Oman has participated in the Greater Arab Free Trade Zone and the World Trade Organization (WTO) since 2000. In 2006, Oman signed a bilateral free trade agreement with the United States. Oman is a member of the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, the Islamic Development Bank, the Arab Monetary Fund and other international development organizations.

Qaboos was the only Arab leader who gave his support to the Camp David Accords in 1978, which led to the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel, while maintaining good contacts with both Cairo and the other Arab capitals. He also supported the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations following the Oslo Accords of 1993.