The Sultanate of Oman celebrated the 50th Anniversary of its National Day; a première under the novel leadership of His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tariq bin Taimur Al Said. The latter took power in January 2020 from the late Sultan Qaboos bin Said bin Taimur, father of the Omani Renaissance.
Sultan Haitham bin Tariq has vowed to ensure the continuation and preservation of the Sultanate by building on his predecessor’s legacy.
His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tariq Al Said
His Majesty the Sultan is the Head of State, Chair of the Council of Ministers as well as the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces. He is the symbol of national unity and the guardian of the preservation, and the protection thereof.
Sultan Haitham was born in Muscat on 11 October 1955. After receiving his elementary education at the Sa’idiyya School in Muscat, he moved abroad to pursue his studies – following the wishes of his late father, Sayyid Tariq bin Taimur Al Said. First, then Sayyid Haitham moved to Lebanon, where he attended Broumana High School. Subsequently he moved to the United Kingdom, where he pursued his secondary studies and attended university at the prestigious University of Oxford.
During his career, Sultan Haitham held a number of important positions, which prepared him to eventually take on the leadership of Oman in January 2020. First, the would-be Sultan became involved in the work of the Omani Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where he reached the crucial position of Secretary General.
Eventually then Sayyid Haitham bin Tariq worked as Minister of Heritage and Culture for nearly 18 years, during which he further approached the grandeur of Omani history, heritage, and culture. In addition, he assumed the chairmanship of several committees, the most important of which was the main committee for the future vision “Oman 2040”.
As a culmination to his successful career, H.M. Sultan Haitham bin Tariq took executive power in Oman on 11 January 2020, succeeding the late Sultan Qaboos bin Said bin Taimur in a smooth transition of power that was appreciated and admired throughout the world. In his first speech after his inauguration as monarch, H.M. Sultan Haitham commended the achievements of his predecessor and pledged to build upon his legacy.
He also affirmed that he would follow the footsteps of the late Sultan in foreign policy, stressing the principles he had set for the Sultanate’s foreign policy based on peaceful coexistence between nations and peoples, good neighbourhood, non-interference in the internal affairs of others, and respect for the sovereignty of states.
Besideshis involvement in politics, H.M. Sultan Haitham has wide interests, including sports. For instance, from 1983 to 1986 he chaired the first Omani Football Association, overseeing the establishment of many organizational aspects in the work of football and sports clubs in the Sultanate. During this time period, the Sultanate hosted the seventh Gulf Cup. His Majesty also chaired the organizing committee of the second Asian Beach Games that the Sultanate hosted in 2010.
Decorations and honours received by His Majesty
During his career, His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tariq has received several royal decorations, in the forefront of which was the Order of Alrusoukh (Firmness), which he received from the late Sultan Qaboos bin Said in November 2010, in addition to the Order of Al Said, the Order of Oman and the Order of the Omani Renaissance.
In March 2001 he was also awarded the Decoration of Honour for Services provided by the Republic of Austria, and in December 2006 he received the King Abdul Aziz Sash (First Class). He received an Honorary Knighthood, Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order from the United Kingdom in November of 2010.
Oman and The Netherlands
The bilateral relations between the Sultanate of Oman and the Kingdom of the Netherlands are witnessing a close and continuous development at all levels.
This year, His Majesty King Willem-Alexander of the Kingdom of Netherlands paid a visit to the Sultanate and met with His Majesty Haitham bin Tariq, Sultan of Oman. The Dutch monarch presented his condolences on the demise of late Sultan Qaboos bin Said.
His Excellency Sayyid Badr bin Hamad bin Hamoud Al Busaidi, Foreign Minister of Oman, also conducted a virtual conference with His Excellency Stef Blok, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Their Excellencies the foreign ministers of both countries discussed most of the bilateral political and economic issues.
Another virtual meeting was performed between several parties in the Sultanate of Oman and the Kingdom of the Netherlands with the participation of Their Excellencies Ambassador Sheikh Dr. Abdullah bin Salim bin Hamed Al Harthi and Ambassador Laetitia van Asch, and a wide number of companies from both countries.
The Sultanate of Oman and the Kingdom of the Netherlands will continue to strengthen their partnership and will work side to side to prosper, widen and deepen cooperation at political, economic and social levels.
Oman is distinguished by its geographical position and its easy access to its neighbours (Asia, Africa and Gulf States) which attracts Dutch Companies to invest in several sectors.
Oman provides enormous opportunities and facilities to all kind of investment. The Sultanate with its unique location offers many chances to expand its economical connections beyond its borders. With that in mind, Oman bids a number of incentives encouraging foreign businesses, such as low tax, cheap energy, skilled labour and land allocation by the Government.
Foreign Policy and the Future Vision
As soon as he assumed power, in his first nation address, His Majesty Sultan Haitham reaffirmed the permanent stands of the Sultanate’s foreign policy, saying that the Sultanate advocates peaceful co-existence among nations, good neighbourliness and non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries. His Majesty the Sultan moreover stressed that he would follow the footsteps of the late Sultan Qaboos bin Said bin Taimur.
In his allocution, His Majesty the Sultan said, “We shall trace the course of the late Sultan, reaffirming the fundamentals of our country’s foreign policy based on peaceful co-existence with nations, good neighbourliness, non-interference in the internal affairs of others, respect for countries’ sovereignty and international cooperation in various spheres.”
This stance was reaffirmed by the Sultanate’s Government last September in a speech delivered by Foreign Minister Sayyid Badr bin Hamad Al Busaidi before the 75th general assembly of the United Nations. Sayyid Badr said, “His Majesty the Sultan has reaffirmed beyond any doubt that the Sultanate will continue the prudent policy set by the late His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said bin Taimur, Founder of Oman’s Modern Renaissance and architect of its foreign policy and its international relations over the past 50 years.”
In addition, the principles of Omani foreign policy as established in its blessed renaissance espouse dialogue as a means for solving disputes. They also support values of tolerance, justice equality and the settlement of conflicts in accordance with the UN charter and rules of the International Law. This enhanced the Sultanate’s regional and international status and made it a lighthouse of peace and security.
It is worth noting that Omani foreign policy principles are derived from basics of Oman’s centuries-old civilisation and original values of Omani society that indicate a sincere desire to promote humanity and moderation. As a result, the Sultanate is widely accepted as mediator in the international arena.