| Azlan Othman |
WARM and cordial ties between the Sultanate of Oman and Brunei Darussalam were highlighted by Ahmed bin Hashel Rashed Al-Maskari, Ambassador of the Sultanate of Oman to Brunei Darussalam at a reception last night to mark the 44th National Day anniversary of the Sultanate of Oman, held at The Empire Hotel & Country Club, Jerudong.
Present as the guest of honour to represent the government of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam was the Minister of Energy at the Prime Minister’s Office, Pehin Datu Singamanteri Col (Rtd) Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Awg Hj Mohammad Yasmin bin Hj Umar.
Ahmed Hashel said this year marks the 30th anniversary since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Sultanate of Oman and Brunei Darussalam.
“Last January 2014, the 14th bilateral consultative meeting took place in Muscat between the two governments, during which both sides expressed satisfaction with the progress achieved in the bilateral relations and agreed on the importance of continuing efforts towards strengthening the valuable ties shared by both countries.
“This year also witnessed the 2nd Oman-Brunei joint committee meeting, which focused on economic and trade cooperation, in addition to investment opportunities that can benefit both sides. This meeting took place in the capital city of Muscat as well during September 2014, and it proved to be a success.
“Furthermore, the continuous flow of high level visits between the Sultanate of Oman and Brunei Darussalam, which took place during the current year, was a huge contributory factor towards strengthening such excellent bilateral relations,” he said.
He noted in February 2014, His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office, paid a successful visit to Oman and met His Majesty Sultan Qaboos.
“On the other hand, the current year also witnessed the visits of His Highness Sayyid Haitham bin Tariq Al Said, the Minister of Heritage and Culture in March 2014, and it was a fruitful visit that widened the scope of cooperation between the two Sultanates in the fields of heritage, culture and youth.
“The fruitful cultural cooperation enjoyed by both countries received further boost this year with the participation of the Sultanate of Oman in the Brunei Book Fair. Meanwhile, Brunei also participated for the second time in two years in the Muscat International Book Fair, which was held earlier this year,” he added.
The ambassador also said that a cultural troupe from the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports of Brunei Darussalam participated in the Salalah Tourism Festival of the Sultanate of Oman, which was in line with both countries’ aim to mutually promote their cultures and heritages.
“Moreover, the (Oman) embassy took part in the first arabic festival organised by Universiti Brunei Darussalam, in April 2014. Similarly, an Omani cultural week took place in Brunei this month, which further bolstered the 30 years of fruitful ties. It was graced by Her Royal Highness Princess Hajah Masna, Ambassador At Large at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.”
The visit by Dr Abdul Munim bin Mansour bin Said Al Hasani, the Minister of Information in April 2014 also kick started bilateral cooperation in media affairs, he noted.
“Oman and Brunei enjoy a fruitful relation in the field of defence that has grown steadily since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1984. This is evident from the fact that Oman sent two officers to participate in the Command and Staff Course for the current year, organised by the Royal Brunei Armed Forces.
“Moreover, Oman also sent two officers to attend the 11th Technical Meeting for Brunei International Skill Meet in September 2014. A delegation from the Command and Staff College also visited Brunei this year to study and benefit from the education system and training methods practised at the Royal Brunei Armed Forces Staff College.”
Brunei, on the other hand, has actively participated in military events and training programmes organised by the Sultan’s Armed Forces, he said.
“Meanwhile, cooperation in energy, oil and gas sector is another dimension of Brunei-Oman bilateral relations that has also developed over the years and this is evident from the fact that Petroleum Development Oman Company and Brunei Shell Petroleum, along with Oman Liquefied Natural Gas company, have participated over the last two decades in a very successful cross posting of senior technical staff for work exposure exchange programmes ranging from three months to four years. Currently, we have about 24 Omani engineers working with Brunei Shell company under this agreement.
“Cooperation in energy, oil and gas sector also witnessed an unprecedented boost this year with Oman’s successful participation in the energy week in March 2014.
“The Omani delegation in this event featured the contracting and procurement manager at Petroleum Development Oman company, who took part in the local business development forum which was held on the sidelines of the energy week, where he shared his company’s successful implementation of its ‘in-country value initiative’, which has created immense job and training opportunities for Omanis in the energy sector over the recent years.
“Earlier this month, COMQUEST Sendirian Berhad, which is a joint venture between Telekom Brunei Berhad (TelBru) and an Omani private investor, won gold medals in Las Vegas, and this is an example of how successfully we can do business together.
“Having said that, investment and economic cooperation between the two Sultanates received further boost with the visit by Dr Salem Nasser Al Ismaily, the Chairman of the Public Authority for Investment Promotion and Export Development, accompanied by a big delegation representing major private sector players in April 2014, and we are confident that this visit will also open up wider horizons and new avenues of cooperation in business and investment in both countries,” the ambassador said.
The Omani ambassador and spouse accompanied the guest of honour and his spouse to cut the anniversary cake and later presented souvenirs to them.