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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.
US President Donald Trump 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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