Sultan Qaboos
Image Credit: AFP

Our thoughts and prayers are with the leadership and people of Oman following the death of Sultan Qaboos Bin Said on Friday evening following a long illness. And those thoughts and prayers also extend to his successor, Sultan Haitham Bin Tariq Al Said, who leads his people in mourning the late Sultan Qaboos at a time of great sadness for that nation. Three days of national mourning are underway there as the people of Oman remember their late leader and his achievements in building a prosperous and modern nation.

When Sultan Qaboos took power from his father in 1970, Oman was a nation with just six kilometres of paved roads and facing a myriad of political and social challenges. The country had only three schools and two hospitals. It was a time when the country was riven by armed conflicts and disparate factions with conflicting political ideologies.

Sultan Qaboos established Oman's first cabinet, government departments and an effective administration to bring real change on the ground.

- Gulf News

All that changed as Oman united under Sultan Qaboos’ leadership. The sultan embarked on an ambitious programme of building a modern nation, promoting trade, education, health, transport and tourism. After five decades of his rule, Oman stands proudly as a modern, progressive and leading nation in the region, one with a reputation forged by his independent and open outlook in building harmonious relations in the Gulf and beyond.

He established Oman’s first Cabinet, government departments and an effective administration to bring about real change. In the early 1990s, Sultan Qaboos gave women the right to vote and enabled them to run for public office — unprecedented moves in the Gulf, at that time.

But Sultan Qaboos was also an architect of Oman’s foreign policy, one that looked beyond the Gulf and embraced its strategic position at the Strait of Hormuz. When tensions with Iran were high, Sultan Qaboos’ personal leadership style helped smooth the turbulent waters in the Gulf. He was an eager supporter and one of the founders of the Gulf Cooperation Council in 1981. His leadership made both him and his nation a natural mediator when counsel and situations necessitated his critical input.

His successor and cousin Sultan Haitham, who was the minister of heritage and national culture, confirmed that he would “moving forward on the noble approach of Sultan Qaboos in the development and progress of the Sultanate.”

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