MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) expressed condolences to Oman as the sultanate by the Arabian Sea mourned the passing of Sultan Qaboos, the longest-reigning leader of the Arab world who ruled his country for nearly 5 decades.
“Qaboos was a man of vision and foresight who transformed his country into a modern and stable nation it is known today,” Malacañang said it a statement on Saturday, January 11.
“We thank His Majesty for graciously hosting thousands of Filipinos who work and consider Oman their second home,” it added.
The DFA similarly said, “Oman, under the stable leadership of His Majesty, has been been a leading player in promoting peace and security in the Middle East. It is likewise a benevolent host to thousands of Filipinos who have made Oman their second home.”
Qaboos, who died at 79 on Friday, January 10, had ruled the moderate Arab state since 1970, when he deposed his own father in a palace coup. He is known in Oman for being charismatic and visionary, having ruled the country with a modern government vastly different from his father’s reclusive and ultra-conservative approach.
Qaboos is also known for pursuing a neutral foreign policy, having facilitated talks between the US and Iran in 2013 that led to the landmark nuclear deal two years later, wrote the BBC.
According to Agence Frace-Presse, Qaboos had been ill for a time and had been believed to be suffering from colon cancer.
Hours after the announcement of Qaboos’s death, Oman declared former culture minister Haitham bin Tariq Al Said as the country’s new ruler. State television said Qaboos had named Tariq as his successor in a letter read by Omani authorities after the leader’s death.
Tariq, Qaboos’s cousin, promised to continue to maintain Oman’s foreign policy under Qaboos.
“We will continue to follow in the same course the late Sultan adopted…embracing foreign policies based on peaceful coexistence among peoples and countries without any interference in the domestic affairs of other states,” Al Jazeera quoted him as saying. – Rappler.com
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