By Giorgio Cafiero
August 17, 2015
This article was originally published by Al Monitor
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem’s recent visit to Oman signals Damascus’ heightened interest in negotiating an end to its 4½-year-old civil war, an interest rendered more urgent by a series of on-the-ground setbacks for the Syrian army.
Moallem met Aug. 6 with his Omani counterpart, Yusuf bin Alawi in Muscat, Oman, to discuss “constructive efforts” aimed at ending the Syrian crisis. Syria’s state-run news agency reported the two diplomats “agreed to continue cooperation and coordination to achieve the shared goals of their peoples and governments.” Moallem’s visit, which came at Muscat’s invitation, marked his first trip to a Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) state since the Syrian conflict erupted in 2011.
As early as 2011, Omani leader Sultan Qaboos bin Said hosted American and Iranian officials for talks, which laid the groundwork for last month’s historic nuclear agreement. Since the six world powers and Tehran signed the deal, numerous actors have signaled greater interest in pursuing diplomatic steps to resolve the Syrian crisis and in working together to counter the Islamic State (IS).
Giorgio Cafiero is the co-founder of Gulf State Analytics.