A Relationship of Unique Importance 2010 - 2019
The width and intensity of cooperation has flourished over the past ten years, putting the relationship on a still broader footing with a focus on the rising new generation in Oman and Britain. Joint activity has prospered in a growing number of sectors with the rapid development of the Omani economy and society and with the forward plans of Vision 2040 and the Renaissance Renewed.
This new era of cooperation was marked by the second State Visit of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth to the Sultanate in November 2010.
Following the State Visit in which the Foreign Secretary William Hague accompanied The Queen a new governmental Joint Working Group was established in 2010 and has since met each year. In March 2019 Yousef bin Alawi, Oman’s Minister Responsible for Foreign Affairs, and UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt signed a Joint Declaration on Enduring Friendship signalling both countries’ intent to continue strengthening and deepening the historic relationship across the board. In May 2019 the two ministers met again in London to sign the UK-Oman Comprehensive Agreement. This set out in detail the two countries’ shared commitment “to take the relationship into a new era of cooperation“.
Defence relations also intensified. October 2018 saw the third of the major Saif Saree’a combined training exercises between British and Omani Armed Forces. In February 2019 at a time of high regional tension the British and Omani Defence Ministers signed an historic new Joint Defence Agreement renewing Britain’s commitment to the strategic partnership with Oman, to develop joint capabilities and to promote stability in the area.
The British Omani Society opened its London home in 2010 and launched its New Generation Group in 2014. Outward Bound Oman (OBO), an offshoot of the British educational charity was established in 2014. The scope of joint environmental research and training widened. Britain became the major foreign investor in the Sultanate with BP’s investment of $20 billion in gas projects; Vodafone entered the Omani telecommunications market. The Oman British Business Council (OBBC) was formed in 2017 to foster further commercial and industrial relations. Parliamentary links gained new impetus with a series of exchange visits leading up to that of the State Council Chairman to London in 2019.
The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall visited Oman in 2013 and again in 2016. At the end of the decade the pattern of official British Royal visits to Oman moved to include the next generation.