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UK: Queen Elizabeth II Visits Oman Marking the 40th Anniversary
Global Arab Network - - Andy McDonough
Oman (Muscat) - Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and Head of the Commonwealth will pay a four-day visit to Oman starting on November 25, reports Global Arab Network according to a Royal Statement.

This year’s visit to Oman will mark the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the Renaissance under the leadership of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said.

The Diwan of the Royal Court of Oman issued the following statement;

"In a bid to foster the historic friendship and cooperation bonds between the Sultanate and the United Kingdom and in response to an invitation from His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said, Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and Head of the Commonwealth will pay a four-day visit to the Sultanate starting from Thursday 19th Du Alhijja 1431 AH corresponding to November 25th 2010.

His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said will lead the welcome party of Queen Elizabeth II and her accompanying delegation upon arrival to the Sultanate.

The visit comes as a bid to enhance the good cooperation march between the Sultanate and the United Kingdom and out of the keenness of the two countries to support this march to achieve more aspirations for the two friendly Omani and British peoples in different fields.

During the visit, the Queen will be accompanied by an official delegation that includes Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh, William Hague, UK Foreign Secretary, Dr. Noel Jokian, the British ambassador to the Sultanate and a number of senior British officials.

The relationship between the UK and Oman is a long and fruitful one stretching back over 200 years with treaties of friendship signed in 1798, 1800, 1891 and 1951. The 1800 Treaty stated that friendship between the two countries should “endure till the end of time or the sun and moon cease in their revolving careers.” Such is the enduring nature of that sentiment that HM The Queen quoted it in a speech during the 1982 State Visit to the UK by HM Sultan Qaboos.

Around 7,000 British citizens live and work in Oman – the largest western expatriate group in the country. Many Omanis have houses or business interests in the UK and see the UK as a second home.

The UK is the largest foreign investor in Oman with substantial investments in a number of areas. UK companies such as BP, Carillion, WS Atkins, Mott MacDonald and Shell are actively supporting Oman’s development.

Historically trade has been the cornerstone of the UK/Oman relationship with the first Trade treaty signed in 1646.

In 2009 UK export in goods to Oman totalled £349 million – up 66% on the 2006 figure. Omani exports to the UK were £113 million. Trade in services such as training, education and services are present in many sectors.

Major UK exports are in security, precision engineering products, industrial equipment and educational supplies.

The UK is Oman’s eight largest trading partner. British goods and services are well received and British Standards are widely used and accepted.

A double taxation agreement between the UK and Oman was concluded in 1998 and updated in 2009, the UK’s first such agreement with a Gulf country.

Education is a key branch of UK/Oman partnership and co-operation, over 20 UK universities and higher education institutions have either affiliates or programmes running in Oman.

In 2008 there was a 42% increase in the number of Omani students studying in the UK. Around 2000 go to the UK for higher studies each year – the highest number of Omani overseas students outside of the Arab world.

In June 2009 around 900 Omani teachers of English in state schools completed a Leeds university graduation programme taught in Oman. The majority of Omani English teachers in state schools have a British degree.

The 1982 State Visit to the UK

His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said Al Said of Oman undertook a State Visit to the UK from 16-19 March 1982.

He was greeted at Gatwick Airport by The Duke of Gloucester and a Guard of Honour of The Queen's Colour Squadron of the Royal Air Force before boarding the Royal Train for Victoria Station in London.

The programme included a banquet with the Lord Mayor of London at Guildhall, a visit to the Army camp at Bovington in Dorset and lunch with the then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher at 10 Downing Street.

His Majesty was accompanied to the UK by a number of senior Omanis.

The 1979 State Visit to Oman
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh last visited Oman on a State visit in 1979. This formed part of a Gulf tour in which she also visited Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, and the UAE as well as Oman.

The tour began with the Queen arriving in Kuwait on Concorde.  But her arrival in Oman on 28 February for a three day visit was no less impressive as HMY Britannia, the Royal Yacht, was accompanied into Muscat Bay by a marine escort from the Sultan of Oman's Navy.

The short journey to the shore on the Royal Barge was a chance to appreciate a view  of the historic Omani capital that many seafarers had gazed upon over many centuries.

The State Visit to UAE

It is worth mentioning that the Queen will visit Abu Dhabi between 24th and 25th November, before visiting Muscat between 25 and 28 November.

The State Visit of The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh to the United Arab Emirates comes at the invitation of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al Nahyan and Oman at the invitation of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said.

This will be the second visit by The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh to both the UAE and Oman.

Global Arab Network

Image courtesy:
1-    Flickr: Copyright All rights reserved by UK in Oman
2-    Book: “A Reformer on the Throne” by Sergey Plekhanov - page 171

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