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Oman joins Saudi-led Islamic alliance: Gulf sources

Oman has joined a Saudi-led coalition of Muslim countries to fight terrorism, Saudi Arabian and Gulf sources said on Wednesday.

The sultanate indicated its willingness to take part in the 40-country alliance in a letter to Saudi Deputy Crown Prince and Defence Minister Mohammed bin Salman, the sources said.

Although differences are rarely aired in public, Oman has long stood out among its Gulf allies, remaining close to countries such as Iran, a long-term enemy of Saudi Arabia. The Sultanate has worried that a wider regional confrontation between Riyadh and Tehran could threaten its own stability, and has sought to play the conciliator.

“Oman has always in the past taken positions and policies that are contrary to the Gulf positions regarding the region. This now shows the return of Oman to the Gulf consensus.”

Prince Mohammed was expected to travel to Muscat in coming weeks to prepare for a visit by King Salman, the sources said.

Saudi Arabia announced the alliance in December 2015.

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