Boris Johnson underlines Oman’s ‘crucial’ role in resolving Yemen conflict during Muscat visit

Boris Johnson, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. ©Andrej Klizan

UK foreign secretary Boris Johnson was last night granted an audience with the Sultan of Oman, His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said, during his latest visit to the country.

The trip follows hot on the heels of two days of talks on the Middle East between Mr Johnson and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and discussions with international counterparts in Paris.

According to a report by Oman News Agency, the British delegation was greeted by the Sultan at Bait Al Barakah palace in Muscat. The meeting was also attended by Yousuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah, Oman’s foreign affairs minister.

Earlier today, the foreign secretary flew on to Saudi Arabia where he's expected to meet Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.

Speaking ahead of the visit, Mr Johnson said: “Oman and Saudi Arabia both have crucial regional roles, particularly in finding a political solution to the crisis in Yemen. During my meetings this week I will reaffirm that there can be no military solution to the conflict – peace-talks are the only long-term solution for the people of Yemen.

“In tandem, we must continue to address the humanitarian crisis in Yemen. There has been progress in recent weeks with the reopening of the Hodeidah and Saleef ports, allowing vital access for food and fuel. We also welcome the Saudi-led Coalition’s new humanitarian plan for Yemen. The UK continues to play a leading role in humanitarian efforts, as the second largest donor to the UN appeal.”

It’s the foreign secretary’s second visit to Oman in just over a month. Mr Johnson flew to Muscat at the start of December as part of a three-day tour of the Gulf region.

The situation in Yemen was also discussed during December’s meeting, along with the future of the Iran nuclear deal and the fate of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a 37-year-old British-Iranian who has been held in Tehran since April 2016 on charges of spying.