| Azlan Othman |
BRUNEI Darussalam and the Sultanate of Oman enjoy an outstanding bilateral relationship since the former country gained its independence in 1984, and such ties are further boosted by the special bonds of friendship enjoyed by the two royal families.
This was noted by the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Sultanate of Oman to Brunei, Sheikh Ahmed bin Hashel bin Rashed Al-Maskari, in his presentation at a seminar on the Sultanate of Oman-Brunei Darussalam relations yesterday at the Sultan Sharif Ali Islamic University (UNISSA) Hall.
Also present at the seminar were the Deputy Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports (MCYS), Hj Mohd Noor Jusmin bin Hj Abdul Samad, Acting Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MoFAT), Sheikh Hj Fadilah bin Sheikh Hj Ahmad, and other ambassadors.
“Brunei became a safe place to anchor for sea traders sailing from between Arabia, India, China and countries in this region since before the 6th century,” said Sheikh Ahmed.
“Oman, on the other hand, was a distri-buting centre for goods and businesses between the East and West… Muscat was a bay of great significance for the maritime traffic between Oman and Southeast Asian countries, particularly the Malay Peninsula and Southeast China.”
He added that when looking at the characteristics of the Sultanate of Oman and Brunei Darussalam, one can appre-ciate how the two countries have so many similarities, such as in the form of go-vernance and the modernisation of both nations’ infrastructures while maintaining their distinct cultural identity.
The ambassador also highlighted si-milar foreign policies that stem from the wise visions of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam and His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said (the Sultan of Oman) about peaceful co-existence between all people, non-interference in the internal affairs of others and mutual respect of national so-vereignty.
Both countries also share similar views on different international issues and support each other’s causes through orga-nisations in which the two countries hold membership.
Thus, it is little wonder that Brunei and Oman have always enjoyed their long history of friendly relations and the for-mal establishment of diplomatic relations 30 years ago that had also opened a new chapter in history.
Despite the fact that the international community has undergone some signifi-cant changes, especially politically, the Oman-Brunei relationship has always been stable and healthy and enjoyed ra-pid development, attaining extraordinary achievements along the way.
This process was greatly assisted by the official state visits paid by His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam to the Sultanate of Oman on three separate occasions – the first in 1984, followed by the second in 1985 and the third in 2009.
This is in addition to the 14 Bilateral Consultative Meeting sessions since the meeting’s establishment in 1992, which also play a vital role in fortifying the already fruitful bilateral relations.
Moreover, recent years have witnessed increased cooperation in bilateral invest-ment, trade and commerce, as well as cultural and training programme exchan-ges.
The most recent example of the cordial relations enjoyed by the two countries is the Omani Cultural Day event currently held in the Bandar Seri Begawan.
Meanwhile, the Deputy Permanent Secretary at the MCYS in his presentation entitled ‘Cultural Understanding through Cultural Exchanges between Brunei Darussalam and Oman’ highlighted the similarities in the Malay Islamic Monarchy (MIB) philosophy and the cultural back-ground of Oman, which were evident from a cultural show that was held on Tuesday in the dance performances, traditions, crafts, manuscripts, designs, technology and even cuisine.
The recitations of Dikir Syarafil Anam, Hadrah and Ratib, as well as Islamic art forms have roots in the Arabian Peninsula.
A paper on ‘Oman: Diversity and Tole-rance’ was also delivered yesterday by renowned wirter Dr Hussain Hamood Al-Abri, who highlighted that without tolerance co-existence between different people would become impossible or at the very least difficult, but this has been realised by the government of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said, which adopts a wise and just approach in managing the country’s affairs.