x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Clinton thanks Oman for hiker help

US secretary of state thanks Sultan Qaboos bin Said for helping secure the release of two American hikers.

MUSCAT// The US secretary of state arrived in Oman yesterday to thank Sultan Qaboos bin Said for helping secure the release of two American hikers.

Hillary Clinton and the ruler also discussed US concerns about Tehran's alleged plot to kill the Saudi ambassador in Washington, an Omani government source said.

"The US is looking for Oman to act as an intermediary of goodwill with Iran to diffuse current or potential tensions with rulers in Tehran," the official said.

Mrs Clinton "shared notes" with Sultan Qaboos about the Arab Spring and violence used against civilians in Yemen, Libya and Syria, the source added.

Protests took place in Oman in February calling for higher wages, more jobs and an end to corruption.

Bail of US$500,000 (Dh1.8 million) each for Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer was paid through Oman to Iran for their release last month. Oman also arranged for a similar sum to be paid for fellow hiker Sarah Shourd, who left Iran in September last year.

The three were arrested near the Iranian border during a hiking trip in northern Iraq in 2009.

"Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State, thanked His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said on his efforts that led to the release of the US hikers," the state-run Oman News Agency said.

salshaibany@thenational.ae