Yemen's Houthis criticize Oman for Netanyahu visit

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Also at the summit, Bahraini Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa expressed backing for Oman's efforts to promote Israeli-Palestinian peace, and Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said peace talks would help normalize diplomatic ties between Israel and the Arab world, according to Reuters.

Days before Netanyahu's visit, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas also visited Oman, raising the possibility that Oman might be trying to help revive negotiations or push forward a troubled U.S. peace plan.

Netanyahu was accompanied by senior officials, including the head of the Mossad intelligence agency and his national security adviser.

In a speech he delivered at the IISS Manama Dialogue security summit in Bahrain, Omani Foreign Minister Yousuf bin Alawi said, "Israel is a state present in the region, and we all understand this".

An unnamed Israeli official said to be familiar with details of Netanyahu's visit told The New York Times that as Oman is perceived as a fair mediator to all Middle East countries, the trip could lead to further diplomatic openings for Israel.

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Oman is relying on the United States and efforts by President Donald Trump in working towards the "deal of the century", bin Alawi told the forum on Saturday.

Al-Houthi added that the people of Oman, who are known for their strong bonds to their fellow Arabs in other countries, including Palestine, are also "known for rejecting any normalization of ties" with the occupying regime of Israel.

US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis and his counterparts in Italy and Germany also participated, but Jordan's King Abdullah cancelled his appearance after a flood that hit the Dead Sea region killed 21 people, including more than a dozen children.

Trump's Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt welcomed the "warming ties and growing cooperation between our regional friends" in a tweet on Friday.

But "if you open up to the Arab world and you normalise relations with them, it will open the door for an eventual reconciliation and peace with the Palestinians", he said. "Looking forward to seeing more meetings like this!", Greenblatt said.

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A joint statement by Netanyahu and Oman's ruler Sultan Qaboos said the two sides "discussed ways to advance" the so-called Middle East peace process and "a number of issues of mutual interest to achieve peace and stability in the Middle East".

He told Israel's parliament last week that due to fears of a nuclear threat from Iran, "Israel and other Arab countries are closer than they ever were before". Friday's meeting was the first of its kind between leaders of the two countries since 1996.

"You should not underestimate the openness and the thirst in the Arab world today for Israel", he said Thursday.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin said: "We are thinking of the families of those who were murdered and praying for the quick recovery of those who were injured".

In February, Oman's foreign minister made a rare visit by an Arab official to Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa mosque compound and to the West Bank.

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Muscat, however, suspended relations again following the outbreak of the second Palestinian Intifada in 2000.