Ever growing bilateral ties

This year marked the 36th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Sultanate of Oman and Brunei Darussalam. The bilateral relations between the two countries have always enjoyed stable and steady development, and has attained remarkable achievements, Ambassador of the Sultanate of Oman to Brunei Darussalam Sheikh Ahmed bin Hashel bin Rashed bin Hashel Al-Maskari said in a message on the 50th National Day of the Sultanate of Oman which falls today.

The message added, “Oman and Brunei have concluded numerous cooperative agreements and memorandums of understanding which have boost cooperation in different fields.

“The close relations are also evident by the fact that a Joint Working Group, known as the ‘Bilateral Consultative Meeting’, was established in (1993) to fortify bilateral relations.

“During a meeting in Muscat, in December 2019, both sides expressed satisfaction with the progress achieved in bilateral relations and agreed on the importance of continuing efforts in strengthening the ties between the two countries.

“Cultural cooperation is one of the strong dimensions of our bilateral relations.

“The Sultanate of Oman participated in the Brunei Book Fair, as it consistently did over the past eight years.

“Delegations from the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports of Brunei have been sent on a regular basis over the past six years to participate in the Muscat International Book Fair.

Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque. PHOTO: EMBASSY OF THE SULTANATE OF OMAN IN BRUNEI DARUSSALAM

“In keeping with the embassy’s efforts to promote the Omani culture and scientific heritage in Brunei Darussalam, a fifth Omani Publications Corner named after Al Muhallab bin Abi Sufra Al Azdi, a prominent military General of Omani descent, was launched at the Defence Academy Library, Royal Brunei Armed Forces on October 8. Similar Omani publications corners were officially launched at the Universiti Islam Sultan Sharif Ali (UNISSA) library, the Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) library, the Religious Teachers University College of Seri Begawan (KUPU SB) library and Universiti Teknologi Brunei (UTB) library.

“In line with the embassy’s efforts to make the most of the Bruneians admiration for Arabic language, a fifth batch consisting four teachers from Brunei’s Ministry of Religious Affairs studied Arabic Language in the Sultan Qaboos College for Teaching Arabic Language to Non-Native Speakers, for duration of eight weeks in 2019, on a partial scholarship from the Government of the Sultanate of Oman.

“On students’ exchange, seven Omani students from Sultan Qaboos University and University of Nizwa studied in UBD for one academic semester, during the course of this year.

Recognising the importance of people-to-people ties, the embassy co-organised with the Arabic Language Faculty of UNISSA, the first Regional Arabic Language Camp.

“Defence cooperation is another dimension of Brunei-Oman bilateral relation that has also grown steadily over the past years. Both countries’ armed forces regularly participate in command and staff courses and other military events and trainings in Oman and Brunei.

“Oman and Brunei have also maintained strong cooperation in economic investments over the past several years.

“The Oman Brunei Investment Company (OBIC) jointly established by our two governments in 2009, continued to make the most of business opportunities available in Oman and Brunei markets, to further boost economic development and contribute to their economic diversification plans.

“The State General Reserve Fund (SGRF) of the Sultanate of Oman, which is now known as the Omani Investment Authority (OIA) and Brunei Investment Agency (BIA) have agreed to increase the capital of Oman Brunei Investment Company (OBIC) by another USD100 million, bringing the total capital of the company to USD200 million. The agreement was signed on the sidelines of the 19th Bilateral Consultative Meeting (BCM) between Brunei’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Oman’s Foreign Ministry, in Muscat on December 9.

“On November 2019, OBIC acquired 50 per cent share of Golden Corporation Sdn Bhd (GC), a company that specialises in fish farming, in addition to providing high-quality seafood products, based in Brunei. This was OBIC first investment in Brunei.

“The longstanding shared values and similar energy landscapes of Brunei and Oman have been key in nurturing close ties between the two countries, with the Brunei-Oman Joint Seminar is jointly organised by the Ministry of Energy of Brunei Darussalam and the Ministry of Energy and Minerals (MoEM) of the Sultanate of Oman.

“The biennial seminar, hosted alternately between Brunei and Oman, was established as a platform to share best practices in areas of mutual interest between both countries and to foster joint opportunities, as well as enhance understanding of the business and investment environments in both countries, especially in industry sectors. This relationship is further fortified with the exchange of professionals through the staff cross-posting between Brunei Shell Petroleum Company Sdn Bhd and Petroleum Development Oman, as well as Brunei LNG Sdn Bhd and Oman Liquefied Natural Gas LLC (Oman LNG) an arrangement which has been ongoing for several years.

“It’s evident that relations between the two Sultanates have extended beyond the political spheres to include other important areas of cooperation and we firmly believe that with the joint efforts of both sides, more positive results will be yielded in Oman-Brunei good and beneficial cooperation.

“We hope the friendship and cooperation between the Sultanate of Oman and Brunei will grow from strength to strength and we are confident that with the outstanding leadership of His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam and His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tariq bin Taimour, the bonds of friendship between Oman and Brunei will be further cemented in the years ahead.”