President Tharman Shanmugaratnam and Sultan Haitham Bin Tarik of Oman, shaking hands

SINGAPORE: Sultan Haitham city, a smart city in Muscat, Oman, is set to incorporate a touch of Singapore when the entire project reaches completion by 2045. The announcement to feature Singapore Street in Muscat Smart City project was made by Oman’s ruler, Sultan Haitham bin Tarik, during a state banquet at the Istana on Dec 14, the second day of his three-day state visit to Singapore, The Straits Times reports.

Sultan Haitham emphasised the “excellent relations” between Oman and Singapore, expressing satisfaction with ongoing discussions at various governmental levels. Oman, aspiring to become a regional hub for green hydrogen industries, disclosed its commitment to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050, inviting Singapore to collaborate in these areas.

President Tharman Shanmugaratnam, speaking at the banquet, acknowledged the reciprocal nature of the partnership. Singapore has benefitted from Oman’s insights and perspectives, and both nations look forward to further collaboration and mutual learning.

The year’s notable events include the inaugural Singapore-Oman Strategic Dialogue in Dec 2022, serving as a pivotal platform for bilateral cooperation. Furthermore, both countries elevated their consulates-general to embassies at the beginning of 2023, enhancing diplomatic ties.

Historical and cultural ties between Singapore and Oman stretch back centuries through trade and culture, exemplified by the redevelopment of Muscat Street in 2012. Eight-metre-high granite arches adorned with intricate Omani carvings bookend the street, featuring murals by Omani artists and mosaic artwork.

The visit by Sultan Haitham and his delegation is deemed a significant step in fostering stronger relations between both nations. This marks President Tharman’s first state visit since assuming office.

On his Facebook post, the President said, “I was delighted to welcome His Majesty Sultan Haitham Bin Tarik of Oman at the start of his State Visit today. We are countries with ancient ties, but also many common interests in today’s world.”

During his visit, Sultan Haitham also met with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, discussing Oman’s plans to enhance renewable energy, logistics, and other sectors. Both leaders expressed their commitment to a rules-based international order, multilateralism, and open trade.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong also shared on Facebook and stated: “Pleased to call on His Majesty Sultan Haitham Bin Tarik of Oman today. His Majesty’s is the first-ever State visit by an Omani Sultan here. His Majesty shared about Oman’s plans to build up its renewable energy, logistics, and other sectors. Singapore is happy to explore opportunities with Oman for our mutual benefit.”

Two memorandums of understanding (MOUs) were signed during the visit. The first, between Singapore’s Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth and Oman’s Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth, aims to promote cultural and youth development through mutual exchanges, events, and programmes.

The second MOU, signed by the Singapore Cooperation Enterprise and Oman’s Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Investment Promotion, seeks to deepen economic collaboration. Oman expressed interest in leveraging Singaporean expertise for areas such as investment promotion, export growth, company expansion, and national branding.

As part of the visit, Sultan Haitham explored the Singapore Botanic Gardens and had a new orchid hybrid named in his honour, the Dendrobium H.M. Sultan Haitham bin Tarik.

Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong was scheduled to meet with Sultan Haitham on Dec 15. According to the Bahrain News Agency, His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik, Sultan of Oman, engaged in discussions with Lawrence Wong, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance of Singapore, during a meeting at his residence in Singapore.

The meeting focused on exploring avenues to strengthen the existing ties between Oman and Singapore. Both leaders delved into potential measures to draw upon the developmental and economic experiences of their respective nations.

Additionally, they exchanged views on various matters of mutual concern, reflecting the ongoing dialogue and collaboration between Oman and Singapore./TISG