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Kuwait, Oman Seek to Ease Tehran-Riyadh Tensions

Kuwait, Oman Seek to Ease Tehran-Riyadh TensionsKuwait, Oman Seek to Ease Tehran-Riyadh Tensions

The emir of Kuwait on Monday held talks with Oman's Sultan Qaboos bin Said to ease tensions between Iran and Persian Gulf Arab countries.

Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah started a three-day visit to the sultanate following visits by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to Oman and Kuwait last Wednesday.

"The peaceful solution in the region will not be complete without a consultation with the emir of Kuwait after the sultan's talk with the Iranian president," a Kuwaiti delegate accompanying the emir told the UAE daily The National. The discussion between Sultan Qaboos and Sheikh Sabah was far-reaching, "not just to improve relations, but to bridge the gap in political ideologies concerning the Syrian and Yemen conflicts."

The delegate also said the two leaders discussed ways of "bridging the gap between Iran and Saudi Arabia" so that the two feuding countries could "find a common ground to work for a feasible and permanent solution."

Oman is a traditional mediator in the region and has made several efforts to resolve Middle East conflicts.

Unlike its Persian Gulf Arab neighbors, Oman maintains good ties with Iran, a key backer of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. It is also the region's only Arab monarchy not to have cut ties with Damascus.

On Sunday, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al Jubeir told delegates at the Munich Security Conference that his country rejected Iranian calls for dialogue, claiming Tehran was the main sponsor of terrorism in the world, a destabilizing force in the Middle East and wanted to "destroy us".

Saudi Arabia and its Persian Gulf Arab allies accuse Iran of meddling in the internal affairs of Arab countries. This is anything but propaganda aimed at deflecting the world's attention from Saudi Arabia's indiscriminate killing of civilians in Yemen and full-fledged support for militants to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. 

"Oman and Kuwait cannot do it alone and would need the blessing of Saudi Arabia to make any headway to this conflict," said Ahmed al-Falahy, a political commentator and a former Omani diplomat. "The Saudis are key to end this standoff. The rest of the [Persian] Gulf Cooperation Council countries will follow if Saudi Arabia decides to do so."

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