UK foreign secretary secures audience with Sultan of Oman

Boris Johnson, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs

Britain’s foreign secretary Boris Johnson was granted an audience with His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said on Friday.

The meeting took place at Bait Al Baraka palace in Muscat and was also attended by Yousuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah, Oman’s minister for foreign affairs.

According to the Oman News Agency, bilateral relations between the United Kingdom and the Sultanate of Oman were discussed, as well as other regional and international issues.

Mr Johnson landed in Muscat yesterday morning and will continue on to Iran and the United Arab Emirates as part of a three-day visit to the Gulf region.

The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office said a range of issues would be discussed during the tour, including the future of the Iran nuclear deal, how to bring an end to the conflict in Yemen and ease the desperate humanitarian suffering there and the current tensions in the region.

The foreign secretary is also expected to raise "grave concerns" over the case of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a 37-year-old British-Iranian who has been held in Tehran since April 2016 on charges of spying.

An unnamed official told UAE newspaper The National that Britain is hoping Sultan Qaboos will help “smooth the way”, as Mr Johnson works towards securing the release of Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe.

A Foreign & Commonwealth Office spokesperson said: “This visit comes at a crucial time for the Gulf region and provides an opportunity to discuss a peaceful solution to the conflict in Yemen, the future of the Iran nuclear deal and the current volatility in the Middle East.

“This is the first visit of the Foreign Secretary to Iran and we expect talks to cover a wide range of issues from the bilateral relationship to regional security. The government remains very concerned about all our dual nationals detained in Iran and has been doing everything it can to make progress on their cases, while approaching them in a way that we judge is in their best interests. The foreign secretary will urge the Iranians to release dual nationals where there are humanitarian grounds to do so.”