Muscat, Oman
Muscat, OmaniStock

Oman announced on Wednesday that it will open an embassy in the Palestinian territories in support of the Palestinian people, AFP reports.

The announcement coincided with the US-led economic workshop in Bahrain in which the Trump administration unveiled the economic portion of its Middle East peace plan.

"In continuation of Oman's support for the Palestinian people, the Sultanate of Oman has decided to open a diplomatic mission at the level of embassy in the State of Palestine," the foreign ministry said on Twitter.

A delegation from the ministry will travel to Ramallah, the seat of the Palestinian Authority, to take the necessary measures to open the embassy, it said.

The announcement was cautiously welcomed by senior Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) official Hanan Ashrawi.

"We think maybe first of all it will help us educate the Omani government as to the real nature of the occupation and also working with Palestine directly," Ashrawi told journalists, according to AFP.

But she warned Oman against using the new embassy as a step towards establishing formal relations with Israel.

"If this has a political price attached then certainly there will be ramifications," she said.

In Muscat, the PA envoy to Oman said the opening of an embassy in Ramallah was a "historical decision".

"It is an important and indicative step with profound implications, especially at this time, as the Palestinian issue passes through a critical stage," Tayseer Farhat told AFP.

"This step represents political and moral support."

Oman is not participating in the Bahrain workshop, but has in the past reportedly offered to play a role in mediating talks between Israel and the PA.

In October of 2018, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu made a surprise visit to Oman, where he met with Sultan Qaboos bin Said.

Later, Transportation and Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz also visited Oman, where he presented a plan for the construction of a railway between Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf.

Last year, Oman's state minister for foreign affairs, Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah, held talks with PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah. He also made a rare visit by an Arab official to the Al-Aqsa mosque complex in Jerusalem.

The Omani foreign minister has said that the establishment of a sovereign Palestinian state is a condition for any normalization of his country’s ties with Israel.