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Taking giant strides
WITH a deep sense of pride, self-confidence and determination, the Sultanate celebrates today its 45th National Day at a time when the march of Omani modern renaissance, progress and prosperity continues to take giant strides in all fields under the wise leadership of His Majesty, Sultan Qaboos Bin Said.
The 18th of November constitutes a historic turning point in the life of Oman - the state, the people and society - as the magnificent craft of Oman zooms ahead, powered by the prudence of a farsighted leader and expertise inherited from a glorious history. Modern Oman keeps scoring milestones towards reviving its prominent status in the world arena and contributing tangibly and positively to all that achieves bounty and peace to its people and peoples of all friendly countries.
The eighth Majlis Ash'shura Term's (parliamentary) elections were held on Oct 25, 2015. On that date, more than 612,000 voters made their presence in the 107 electoral centres to select 85 members. The turnout was large and participation in the election process stood at 56.6 per cent. One woman won a seat as a Majlis member. Electronic voting was used during these elections, which were covered by scores of Arab and international media agencies that lauded the good running of the event and women's participation therein.
While the Sultanate's celebrations are taking place in the midst of this momentum under the patronage of Sultan Qaboos Bin Said, it is highly significant to note that, despite the sharp fall in international oil prices since mid-2014 - slashing the country's revenues by 36 per cent - the Omani government still makes relentless efforts to accommodate this slump and prevent any negative impact on the services rendered to citizens.
The government is working to enhance sources of financial revenues, to cut government spending and to increase the contribution of non-oil sectors to the GDP. The effects of this policy began to show over the past few months, with the Sultan urging such precautionary measures to be taken when he presided over a meeting of the Council of Ministers on the first day of November 2015.
In the field of foreign policy, Oman has played an active role, regionally and internationally, in promoting peace. The Sultanate has, ever since the outset of its renaissance, declared that it is a country of peace and that it is keen on utilising all means to achieve peace and harmony among peoples of the region, to help resolve problems via peaceful means and through positive dialogue aimed to realise rapprochement among all parties.
There has been global recognition for the Sultanate's positive efforts in resolving a variety of regional and international issues, as it sees stability as being of great importance towards development and prosperity.
Among these achievements are the fruitful outcome of negotiations between Iran and the Group of 5+1 on Iran's nuclear programme where the Sultanate hosted the meetings between these two sides in September and November 2014, exerting efforts in stopping the ongoing fights in Yemen and bringing the Yemeni disputing parties to negotiation, and the Sultanate's ongoing process of its benign efforts relating to the developments in Syria.
It should be noted that the Sultanate of Oman is taking such initiatives in complete impartiality and within the context of a sincere desire to achieve peace and security for the peoples of the region, far away from any vested interest or special agenda - and this has earned the Sultanate more confidence and respect from all parties within the region and beyond.
The relations between Oman and Singapore represent an exemplary international model which is based on joint cooperation and emphasis on the principles of friendship, love and peace through cultural, historical and economic projects.
This year, our National Day celebration coincides with the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Sultanate of Oman and the Republic of Singapore. This year also Oman Air inaugurated on March 30th daily flights between Muscat and Singapore to enhance existing relations between the two nations in all aspects.
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