The first Senior Official Meeting between the European External Action Service (EEAS) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Oman was held in Brussels today, co- chaired by Secretary-General of the European External Action Service, Helga Schmid, and the Omani Undersecretary for Diplomatic Affairs, Sheikh Khalifa bin Ali bin Issa Al Harithy. The meeting launched the implementation of the Cooperation Arrangement between the EEAS and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Oman signed on 20 September 2018 during the official visit to Brussels of HE Yusuf bin Allawi bin Abdullah, Minister responsible for Foreign Affairs.
Today's meeting provided an opportunity to hold high-level political consultations between the EEAS and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Oman and discuss, in particular, latest regional developments. In that context, the exchange focused on the rise of tensions in the Gulf and on ways to urgently promote de-escalation. The two sides had a fruitful dialogue on Yemen, which besides being the world's gravest humanitarian crisis, remains a source of regional instability, and converged on the need to redouble their efforts in support of the UN-led process. Moreover, the consultations included exchanges on the Horn of Africa and maritime security, the Middle East Peace Process, the situation in Iraq and the crisis in Syria. The EEAS expressed appreciation for the Sultanate's constructive role in the region, and both sides agreed to work jointly towards fostering regional stability and prosperity.
In addition to political consultations, the EEAS and Commission services engaged in sectoral exchanges with a wide representation of line ministries and governmental bodies from Oman. The topics covered included trade and investment, energy, education, research, vocational training and technology. The meeting provided an occasion to lay out the EU's and Oman's priorities in these areas and explore ways to enhance bilateral cooperation through concrete initiatives and projects. Both sides agreed to follow-up on their discussions. A second Senior Officials' Meeting will be held in 2020 in Muscat, Oman.