Wednesday 26 February 2020

Oman's Sultan Qaboos dies aged 79

MUSCAT, January 11, 2020

His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said of Oman, the Arab world's longest-serving ruler, has died aged 79.
Oman's Diwan of Royal Court has issued the following statement: “To the people of the beloved homeland in all its districts, to the Arab and Islamic nations and to the world at large, it is with hearts filled with faith in Allah and his Providence, and with great sorrow and deep sadness— yet with complete satisfaction and absolute submission to the will of the Almighty Allah, that the Diwan of Royal Court mourns His Majesty Sultan Qaboos, who passed away on Friday, the 14th of Jumada Al-Ula, January 10, 2020.”
The Diwan has announced a state of mourning and the halt of official work in the public and private sectors for three days and the flying of flags at half-mast over the forthcoming 40 days, according to Oman News Agency (ONA).
Last month he returned home after undergoing medical checks and treatment in Belgium, a BBC report said. Sultan Qaboos was unmarried and had no heir or designated successor.
The Sultan took over the reigns in 1970 and using its oil wealth, he then set Oman on a path to development, said the report.
According to the sultanate's Basic Statute, the Royal Family Council - comprising about 50 male members - should choose a new sultan within three days of the throne falling vacant.
If the family cannot agree, members of the defence council and the chairmen of the Supreme Court, the Consultative Council and the State Council will open a sealed envelope in which Sultan Qaboos secretly recorded his choice and enthrone that person.
The leading contenders reportedly include three brothers who are cousins of the late sultan: Culture Minister Haitham bin Tariq Al Said; Deputy Prime Minister Asaad bin Tariq Al Said; and Shihab bin Tariq Al Said, a former Oman Navy commander who was a royal advisor, the BBC said.
The sultan is the paramount decision-maker in Oman and also holds the positions of prime minister, supreme commander of the armed forces, minister of defence, minister of finance and minister of foreign affairs.
For almost five decades, Sultan Qaboos completely dominated the political life of Oman, which is home to 4.6 million people, of whom about 43% are expatriates.
Meanwhile, the Defence Council was convened under the chairmanship of General Sultan bin Mohammed Al-Nu'amani, Minister of the Royal Office, Acting Chairman of the Defence Council. It was attended by all its members, including: Lt. Gen Hassan bin Mohsen al-Shraiqi, Inspector General of Police and Customs; Lt. Gen Said bin Ali al-Hilali, Head of the Internal Security Service; Lt. Gen Ahmed bin Harith Al-Nabhani, Chief of Staff of the Sultan's Armed Forces; Maj Gen Mattar bin Salim al-Balushi, Commander of the Royal Army of Oman; Air Vice Marshal Mattar bin Ali Al-Obaidani, Commander of the Royal Air Force of Oman; Rear Admiral Abdullah bin Khamis Al-Ra'eesi, Commander of the Royal Navy of Oman; and Maj Gen Khalifa bin Abdullah Al-Junaibi, Commander of the Royal Guard of Oman. 
The Defence Council has called upon the Royal Family Council to convene in order to determine who shall assume power. The Defence Council will stay convened to uphold allegiance and loyalty for maintaining the country's prosperity, said a statement.


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