King Salman, Sultan Haitham speak amid Oman unemployment protests

King Salman, Sultan Haitham speak amid Oman unemployment protests
Omani media said the Saudi king called Oman's sultan to discuss bilateral ties, without any mention of the ongoing demonstrations which have erupted over unemployment in the country.
2 min read
27 May, 2021
Sultan Haitham of Oman [pictured] spoke with Saudi Arabia's King Salman [Getty]

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz spoke by phone with Oman’s Sultan Haitham bin Tariq Al Said on Wednesday evening, as protests continued in the Gulf state since Sunday over unemployment.

The two leaders discussed bilateral relations and common interests between the two countries, the state-run Oman News Agency reported.

The report made no mention of discussions about the ongoing demonstrations.

In videos shared online, Omani riot police are seen firing tear gas to disperse protesters, with sources saying that some arrests have taken place in the northern industrial town of Sohar, where demonstrations started.

A European watchdog which records human rights violations in the Gulf has called on authorities to respect the right to demonstrate peacefully, and not to use violent means to disperse demonstrations.

The Omani military opened its doors Thursday for unemployed citizens to join its ranks in a bid to help ease public anger.

Sultan Haitham, who ascended the throne last year after the death of Sultan Qaboos bin Said, ordered the defence ministry and other government institutions to create 32,000 jobs for Omanis during 2021.

Oman’s economy, like much of the Gulf, has struggled for years due to falling crude prices, and suffered a new blow from the coronavirus pandemic.