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Oman next in line to recognise Israel

National

August 15, 2020

ISLAMABAD: Oman, another important member of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), is in the line to become diplomatic partner with Israel after the UAE.

Bahrain and Kuwait may follow suit. The development is expected to take place within ten weeks. Pakistan has yet to take an eventual position about establishment of diplomatic ties between United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Israel. It is likely that Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa will have discussion with his Saudi hosts regarding the development when he will be reaching the Kingdom early this week on August 17 (Monday).

Sources reminded that Pakistan, unlike Turkey and Iran, avoided taking a hard stance, while other neighbouring states of the UAE are silent. The sources reminded that Pakistan will have to walk a tight rope in articulating its stance since it has become an extremely sensitive subject for the people sitting at the helm of affairs.

Public opinion in Pakistan couldn’t be ignored before a decision is made.

Oman is the nearest GCC country of Pakistan and it has been following a moderate policy with regard to Israel. The incumbent Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has visited Masqat last year.

Qatar, UAE and Bahrain have been housing trading facilities of Israel in their countries for more than a decade. Some of Arab stalwarts have been meeting quietly with Israeli leaders at various places and US topnotches who matter in the Arab-Israel affairs are having constant links with Arab leaders.

The sources revealed that China is also quiet about the establishment of relations between the UAE and Israel, but it has diplomatic ties with Israel and having trade with it at large scale. The UAE was also in close contact with China in the matter as its top leader had visited China recently where they had exchange of views and believed that relations with Israel were also figured in the talks. China has most recently struck a huge deal with Iran for building projects of worth US $ 400 billion.

The sources are of the view that the reaction from Riyadh will ultimately determine Pakistan’s siding with the accord or not. Pakistan and Israel did have back channel contacts at different times, and it is unlikely that Islamabad will be able to have full-fledge diplomatic ties with Tel Aviv any soon.

The two could have insignificant presence at the two places but the reaction of Riyadh will guide the eventuality, the sources opined.