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Political Breakfast with Sayyid Badr bin Hamad Al-Busaidi

Berlin, June 28, 2011

Sayyid Badr bin Hamad Al-Busaidi, Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Sultanate of Oman, met with representatives of federal ministries, government agencies and selected think tanks to share his thoughts on the Arab Spring, and regional developments including Iranian nuclear proliferation and the Israel-Palestine conflict.

The Arab Spring was seen as positive developments that would augur well for the stability and prosperity of the Arab world in the long term. Nonetheless, the military intervention in Libya was not an ideal course, given the potential unintended consequences that could follow after the war. Rather, putting in place a peace dialogue to mediate between the relevant powers should take precedence.

Likewise, Israel and Palestine should restart negotiations without both sides setting any pre-conditions. Some participants maintained that if the global community was serious about having a two-state solution, all relevant parties involved should not set new or pre-conditions to restart the peace talks. With regard to Palestinian push for statehood through a UN vote in September, some recommended that Palestine should not push aggressively for statehood. More importantly, the recognition of Palestine as a state would be better achieved in an international environment of reconciliation, rather than confrontation.

The discussion also touched on the regional unrests in Bahrain, Yemen, Syria, and the role of the Gulf Cooperation Council and the Arab League. There was concern that sectarian civil war could break out in Syria. It was important for the Syrian government to pursue dialogue with the opposition, and to involve the diaspora too. Some participants argued that the Arab League has not played an effective role, and it was expected to remain weak with the centre of gravity shifting to the GCC which was poised to take on a bigger role in regional affairs. The role of Iran was perceived differently by the participants: While some did not regard Iran as a threat to regional stability, others emphasized the dangers associated with Iran’s nuclear program and regional policy.

Körber Foundation regularly invites a small circle of high-ranking actors within Berlin’s foreign policy community to its Political Background Discussions. As in the Bergedorf Round Tables, the discussions take place shielded from the public, so as to enable a confidential, frank, and constructive exchange.

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