Dutch Queen to attend private dinner in Oman

4th March 2011, Comments 0 comments

Queen Beatrix, Crown Prince Willem-Alexander and Princess Máxima will travel to Oman after all. Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal has informed parliament that the Dutch royals will attend a dinner hosted by Omani Sultan Qaboos bin Said al-Said on Tuesday evening.

Earlier, this week, the government information service announced that the visit had been postponed due to political unrest in Oman. The Netherlands and Oman had reportedly reached the conclusion that “recent developments in the country require the Omani government’s full attention and that it would therefore be better to reschedule the visit at a later date”. The two countries are hoping to be able to choose a new date soon.

In his letter, Minister Rosenthal writes that “in the framework of the good relations between Oman and the Netherlands, a personal invitation by the sultan for a private dinner has been accepted.” Queen Beatrix, Crown Prince Willem-Alexander and Princess Máxima were originally scheduled to pay a state visit to Oman.

The past week has seen several demonstrations against the authoritarian rule of sultan Qaboos. As a result, a number of parties had urged Prime Minister Mark Rutte to postpone the state visit. The prime minister said that postponing the visit could also be interpreted as taking sides and that accepting the sultan’s invitation for a private dinner would rectify that image at least to a certain extent.

After extensively discussing the issue with the Queen, Mr Rutte concluded it would be wise to accept the sultan’s personal invitation. He said that parliament could now say whatever it wanted to, but that would not change a thing as it was a matter between him and the queen.

After the dinner in Oman, the royals will travel on to neighbouring Qatar for a state visit which will go ahead as originally planned. .

The Dutch frigate HNLMS De Ruyter arrived at the port of the Omani capital Muscat on Friday. The frigate was to serve as the venue for a reception for the Dutch community in Oman as part of the queen’s state visit. HNLMS De Ruyter replaces HNLMS Tromp which has been deployed off the Libyan coast to assist in the evacuation of foreigners.


© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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