Dignitaries arrive in Muscat to pay respects as Oman mourns death of Sultan Qaboos

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - World leaders have begun to arrive in Muscat to pay their respects to Oman's Sultan Qaboos, who died on Friday aged 79.

Kuwait’s Prince Sheikh Sabah Al Sabah, Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim Al Thani, Bahrain's King Hamad and Yemeni President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi have all travelled to the coastal capital to offer their condolences.

Sultan Qaboos’ successor, Sultan Haitham bin Tariq, met world leaders one after the other on Sundaym including Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and Tunisia’s President Qais Saeed.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is also expected to attend - he is already in the region for a five day tour taking in Saudi Arabi, Oman and the UAE.

The UK's Prince Charles flew overnight to the Sultanate to offer his condolences, British media reported. His son William was the last state visitor to meet with Sultan Qaboos directly, in December 2019.

"Prince Charles expressed his sincere condolences and condolences to His Majesty, the royal family and the Omani people for the death of the late His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Saeed bin Taymur," the Oman News Agency reported. The UK's Defence Minister Ben Wallace also attended Al Alam Palace to offer condolences.

Both dignitaries and the Omani people will gather at Al Alam Palace in Muscat over the course of the three days of mourning declared upon the Sultan’s death.

On the news of his passing, world leaders praised the late Sultan for the progression of his nation over his 49-year rule.

Omani leader Sultan Qaboos bin Said attends the opening of the Gulf Cooperation Council summit in 2007. AFP

Oman's Sultan Qaboos walks with UAE President Sheikh Zayed in Sohar, Oman, in 1999. Wam / AFP

Sheikh , Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, left, meets with Sultan Qaboos bin Said, Sultan of Oman, during an official visit to Oman in 2013. Ryan Carter / Crown Prince Court - Abu Dhabi

United Arab Emirates's President and Ruler of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed, right, walks with Oman's leader Sultan Qaboos bin Said upon his arrival to Al Ain Airport in 2011. Wam

Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid and Sultan Qaboos bin Said of Oman held talks on bilateral ties at the Zabeel Palace in in 2012. Wam

Sultan Qaboos bin Said in 1975. AP Photo

Oman's Sultan Qaboos Bin Said is pictured during a cabinet meeting at the royal palace in Muscat. Sultan Qaboos, who ruled Oman for almost half a century, has died at the age of 79. AFP

Oman's Sultan Qaboos bin Said welcomes Britain's Queen Elizabeth II upon her arrival at Muscat in 2010. Sultan Qaboos, who ruled Oman for almost half a century, has died at the age of 79. AFP

Jordan's King Abdullah welcomes Sultan Qaboos of Oman on his arrival at Aqaba airport in 1999. Reuters

Sultan Qaboos of Oman escorts US President Bill Clinton upon his arrival to Oman airport. Sultan Qaboos, who ruled Oman for almost half a century, has died at the age of 79. AFP

Sultan Qaboos bin Said greets French President Nicolas Sarkozy upon his arrival in Muscat. Sultan Qaboos, who ruled Oman for almost half a century, has died at the age of 79. AFP

The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo with Oman's Sultan Qaboos during a recent visit to Muscat. Sultan Qaboos, who ruled Oman for almost half a century, has died at the age of 79. AP

Sultan Qaboos Bin Said of Oman attending the country's National Day in Muscat. Sultan Qaboos, who ruled Oman for almost half a century, has died at the age of 79. AFP

Portrait of Qaboos Bin Said Al Said, the Sultan of Muscat and Oman, in military uniform, circa 1970. Sultan Qaboos, who ruled Oman for almost half a century, has died at the age of 79. Getty Images

Omani Sultan Qaboos greets South African President Nelson Mandela in 1999 upon his arrival in Muscat at the start of a short tour of the Gulf to promote investments in South Africa. Sultan Qaboos, who ruled Oman for almost half a century, has died at the age of 79. AFP

Queen Elizabeth II walks with the Sultan of Oman, His Majesty Qaboos bin Said Al Said, after arriving in Muscat, Oman in 2010. Sultan Qaboos, who ruled Oman for almost half a century, has died at the age of 79. Getty Images

Sultan Qaboos of Oman has returning home after traveling to Belgium for a medical check-up. Sultan Qaboos, who ruled Oman for almost half a century, has died at the age of 79. AP

US President Donald called the sultan a friend to America who worked for peace in the Middle East.

"As the longest-serving leader in the Middle East, Sultan Qaboos brought peace and prosperity to his country and was a friend to all," Mr Trump said in a statement. Sultan Qaboos was instrumental in acting as a back channel to enable US negotiations with Iran to bring about the 2015 nucelar deal.

His funeral procession on Saturday passed along Muscat's main road amid tight security as Omanis thronged the palm tree-lined route, some reaching out their hands and others taking pictures.

The casket, draped in the Omani flag, was carried into Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque where hundreds joined prayers inside. Sultan Haitham stood facing the casket, with the traditional curved dagger, or khanjar, strapped to his waist. Sultan Qaboos was later buried in a family cemetery.

State media did not give a cause of death. Qaboos had been unwell for years and underwent treatment in Belgium last month.

Updated: January 12, 2020 02:19 PM

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