Ambassador Cherith Norman Chalet
Acting Deputy Permanent Representative
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
January 31, 2020
Sabahu Al-khair. Mr. Secretary-General, Mr. President of the General Assembly, colleagues, excellencies, it is an honor to join with so many others today in paying tribute to one of the world’s great leaders of the past 50 years, His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said. His Majesty Sultan Qaboos will be missed not only by the people of Oman, but also by his friends and admirers the world over, including the United States.
When the Sultan ascended the throne of Oman in July 1970, his country, the region, and the world were in much different places than they are now. His reign spanned nine U.S. presidents, multiple regional crises, and global technological changes no one could have imagined. Through these changes, both welcome and challenging, the hallmarks of his reign were wisdom and vision. Relying on these virtues, he steered Oman toward stability and prosperity, ensuring a brighter, more hopeful future for his people. President Trump captured this sentiment in his condolence statement, noting that, “as the longest-serving leader in the Middle East, Sultan Qaboos brought peace and prosperity to his country and was a friend to all.” The Sultan’s steadfast leadership was characterized by his sincerity, generosity, tolerance, and a deep love for his country. The United States owes him particular thanks for helping to secure safe passage of U.S. Embassy personnel from Yemen during the onset of the conflict there.
Sultan Qaboos was the embodiment of a modern statesman, demonstrating unflagging commitment to dialogue and to promoting peaceful engagement across the troubled region in which Oman and its neighbors exist. He recognized the need to listen to all voices, and he carried the message of diplomatic dialogue to any who would listen. He was frequently the means by which countries who would not talk to each other could talk. The world must always be grateful for the Sultan’s leadership in this regard. But he was not just an international leader. He was also a great Omani leader who loved his country and his people, and who worked every day to ensure they had the resources needed to flourish. When the Sultan ascended the throne, Oman was wracked with conflict and suffering economically. Sultan Qaboos reestablished order and undertook one of the most impressive development campaigns in recent memory, building schools, hospitals, and modern infrastructure – the foundations for even greater future prosperity.
The execution of his vision was so successful that in 2010, the United Nations Development Program ranked Oman as the most improved nation in the world in terms of development during the preceding 40 years. Success of this nature is not possible without capable, wise, and visionary leadership – the kind of leadership, modeled by Sultan Qaboos, to which each of us in this hall should aspire. The United States mourns with the people of Oman, many whom have lost the only leader they ever knew, and we honor the Sultan’s legacy, remaining committed to our strong partnership and friendship with Oman. Shukran jazilan.