Switzerland and the Sultanate of Oman have strengthened relations in recent years. The relations focus primarily on peace policy and security, economy and sustainable development. Particular attention is given to the question of regional stability.
Bilateral relations Switzerland–Oman
On 14 October 2020, the Federal Council adopted a specific strategy for the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA Strategy) for the 2021–24 period. It identifies five thematic priorities: peace, security and human rights; migration and protection of people in need; sustainable development; economic affairs, finance, science; and digitalisation and new technologies.
These priorities are weighted differently across the various regions and countries. On the Arabian Peninsula and in Iran, Switzerland’s engagement concentrates on stability and security in the region, economic and financial cooperation and the sustainable natural resource management.
Switzerland also aims at supporting the Gulf countries in their efforts to professionalise in the area of international cooperation, particularly with regard to South-South cooperation and compliance with international development standards in the areas of climate change, health and water management.
Switzerland’s focus in Oman
The MENA Strategy identifies three focus areas for Oman:
1. Peace, security and human rights
Switzerland is implementing the memorandum of understanding signed with Oman on mediation and peace promotion with an initiative to promote security and stability in the region.
2. Economic affairs, finances et science
Switzerland is exploring opportunities for Swiss companies, especially in logistics, infrastructure and tourism.
On the economic front, Switzerland and Oman have concentrated on improving the general conditions for trade in recent years. A bilateral agreement to ensure the promotion and mutual protection of investments came into force in 2005. An agreement designed to prevent double taxation of income generated from international air transport was signed in 2009. In 2014, a free trade agreement between EFTA and Gulf Cooperation Council member states also took effect.
Trade promotion, Switzerland Global Enterprise SGE
3. Sustainable development
Switzerland is strengthening existing health initiatives and is launching exchanges on vocational training. It includes Oman in regional initiatives in areas such as health, food security and water management.
Swiss nationals in Oman
In 2020 there were 98 Swiss nationals living in Oman.
History of bilateral relations
Switzerland and Oman established diplomatic relations in 1973. The Swiss embassy in Muscat was opened in November 2014, while the Swiss embassy in Riyadh continues to perform consular functions.
Oman opened an embassy in Bern in 2018 and also has a consulate general in Geneva to represent its interests.