By Middle East Affairs
U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis arrived in Oman on Sunday to meet with Sultan Qaboos, Arab News reports.
This is Mattis’ first visit as Pentagon chief and the two will discuss security concerns and the Yemen conflict, according to the news agency.
Oman was the only Gulf Cooperation Council country in March 2015 that did not join the Saudi-led war on Iran-backed rebels in Yemen.
However, it remained in good relations with Saudi Arabia and has generally good relations with countries outside the GCC as well.
The GCC has seen disputes lately, such as the Saudi-led boycott against Qatar for alleged ties to terrorists.
“The unity of the (Gulf Cooperation Council) has been strained, to put it mildly, so I am also wanting to hear what the sultan says can be done about that, as well as the situation on his border in Yemen with the various factions that are fighting there and certainly the civil war,” Mattis told reporters who were on the trip with him.
“The Gulf’s cohesion is critical we believe to maintaining stability in the region.”
Arab News said Mattis will also meet with Oman’s defense minister Monday and other senior Omani officials.