Oman’s foreign minister Yousuf Bin Alawi speaks to BBC Arabic’s Gizelle Khoury Image Credit: Twitter

Muscat: Foreign Minister Yousuf Bin Alawi said Oman was committed to the unity and sovereignty of Syria, pledging that the sultanate will never take a negative stand against the Syrian government as it was chosen by the people of the country.

The Omani official said that the relationship with Iran required the cooperation of all sides.

“Otherwise, the situation will explode and if it does explode, the region will be the biggest loser,” Bin Alawi told BBC Arabic in an interview broadcast on Monday.

The foreign minister added that the Ibadi sect, dominant in Oman, was like any other Islamic sect, extending from Oman to Africa, and had nothing to do with Oman’s relations with Iran.

Bin Alawi also said Oman tried very hard to arrange meetings between the Syrian government and the opposition under the umbrella of the Arab League, but the Syrian government refused.

Regarding the visit by the Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Mua’alem to the Omani capital, Bin Alawi said that the Syrian official made the trip “because he was advised by somebody after the success of the Iranian issue [nuclear deal]”.

“Mua’alem asked for Oman’s help, but we told him that there should be a decision by the Arab states on this matter,” he said.

The minister added that the head of the Syrian National Coalition, Khalid Khoja also came to Oman after he was advised by the Qatari government to do so.

“We welcomed him and we felt that he was looking for a solution to the Syrian crisis.”

Bin Alawi said Oman was ready to mediate between the sides in the Syrian conflict if it felt there could be an agreement.

Bin Alawi said he had not attended Arab League meetings on Syria in order not to cut off ties with the Syrian government, and said that expelling the Al Assad regime from the body was ‘wrong’.

“We gave instructions to our representative in the Arab League not to approve the boycott of the Syrian government, but it was not in our hands to stop the resolution,” he said.

“There is no comparison between the Iranian dossier and Syrian dossier, as the first has authority while the second has no authority.”

Bin Alawi said that Oman was fortunate to have strong ties with both Iran and America, which helped lead to the nuclear agreement between Iran and world powers.

“We faced some difficulties in launching a dialogue between Iran and the US during the presidential terms of both Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and George W. Bush, as the US leader closed all the doors to dialogue in order to push Iran to surrender,” Bin Alawi said.

The Omani official added that the US administration at that time was adamant on not allowing Iran to progress in science or in the area of nuclear weapons.

Bin Alawi stressed that the mutual trust between the Sultan and the Iranian leader was the key to the release of American prisoners.

However, Bin Alawi said that current US President Barack Obama was clearer than his predecessor in dealings with Iranian leaders.

In remarks about the situation in Yemen, Bin Alawi said that issue should be settled through dialogue.