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Oman: Foreign Relations
Country Study > Chapter 6 > Foreign Relations


Oman's foreign policy since the 1970s has been influenced by Qabus ibn Said's determination to reverse the isolationism of Sultan Said ibn Taimur's rule and guardedly to integrate Oman both regionally and internationally. The geostrategic position of the country on the southern shore of the Strait of Hormuz, the imperatives of an oil-dependent economy, and the threats posed by stronger, neighboring regimes, notably Saudi Arabia and Iran, have also shaped the sultan's foreign policy. Oman's foreign policy, as a result of the sultan's goals and the regime's ties to Britain and the United States, has been nonconfrontational and conciliatory to Western interests in the region.

Nonetheless, the regime has displayed an uncommon independence of action in comparison with other Arab gulf states. On several occasions, Oman has acted as a broker in regional disputes. During the Iran-Iraq War (1980-88), the two belligerents conducted cease-fire talks secretly in Muscat. Although no formal agreement resulted, the talks reduced mistrust between the parties. Similarly, after 1988 Oman acted as mediator in the restoration of diplomatic relations between Iran and Britain and Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Data as of January 1993

Last Updated: January 1993

Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for Oman was first published in 1993. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.

Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on

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