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Archive for Oman

Newsline: Oman Embassy Official Found Dead in Moscow Hotel

An official from the Embassy of the Sultanate of Oman has been found dead in a Moscow hotel room, the Russian capital’s investigative committee said in a statement on Thursday. The man’s body was found in a hotel room in downtown Moscow late Wednesday and an investigation is underway, the statement said. The statement confirmed that the body found was that of “an employee of the Embassy of the Sultanate of Oman,” adding there were no signs of violence. An unnamed source in the Russian capital’s police force told RIA Novosti that the body found was that of the First Secretary of the Embassy of Oman. His identity has not been officially confirmed. As of Thursday morning, the Embassy of the Sultanate of Oman has not issued a formal statement regarding these reports, and was not immediately contactable by telephone.

http://en.ria.ru/russia/20130815/182777288/Oman-Embassy-Official-Found-Dead-in-Moscow-Hotel–Police.html

Newsline: Western countries shut down embassies over ‘specific and significant’ al-Qaeda threats

The British, German, Dutch and French embassies in Yemen will be closed over ‘increased security concerns’, the European countries have announced. They blamed an ‘increased threat’ from al-Qaeda. France will close its embassy in Yemen for several days, while Germany and Britain will close theirs for two days on Sunday and Monday. Previously the French Foreign Ministry has said that the Embassy would only be shut on Sunday. Germany also warned its citizens from traveling to the country and that the situation there “is uncertain in the future”. The British embassy in Yemen will close temporarily after escalating violence and terrorist threats, the Foreign Office said Friday. While the Embassy will operate with an “essential staff,” all other British citizens were advised to leave Yemen. The British Foreign Office, which announced the Sana’a embassy would be closed from August 4 to 5, is in close contact with US officials. Meanwhile, US embassies will be closed in Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Mauritania, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen. Canada meanwhile has announced that its embassy in Dhaka, Bangladesh would be closed on Sunday for the “safety and security of our personnel.” The Dutch embassy will also be closed on Sunday, according to Al Jazeera.

http://rt.com/news/uk-embassy-terror-threat-971/

Newsline: Israel opens a ‘virtual embassy’ to Gulf states

The Foreign Ministry opened its first “virtual embassy” – a Twitter account through which it hopes to conduct a dialogue with the people of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Kuwait and Bahrain. The new account is called Israel in the GCC – the Gulf Cooperation Council, an umbrella group for every Arab state in the Gulf except Iraq. These six Sunni Arab countries have a mutual interest with Israel: coping with the Iranian nuclear threat. The account was opened four days ago and had four tweets as of Sunday morning. “Our hope is to reach out and open lines of dialogue #KSA #Oman #Bahrain #UAE #Qatar #Kuwait,” says one tweet. The ministry’s public diplomacy department, headed by Yoram Morad, will operate the Twitter account, under the guidance of the director general’s office. The U.S. State Department made a similar move a few years ago when it opened virtual embassies to Iran and Syria. These “embassies” are websites providing Iranians and Syrians information on the United States and its policies, and about consular issues like visas. Israel has had diplomats in Oman and Qatar, but those offices were closed in 2000 and 2009, respectively, each due to a different round of fighting with the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.

http://www.haaretz.com/blogs/diplomania/.premium-1.537014

Newsline: Probe ordered on alleged sex scandal in Philippine embassies

They have been victimized twice: first by their abusive Arab employers and then by unscrupulous officials of Philippine embassies who are supposed to protect them. The alleged sexual exploitation of distressed Filipino female workers, mostly household helpers, is now the subject of a wide- ranging investigation by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA). Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario has ordered Philippine ambassadors to eight Middle Eastern countries to return to Manila for “consultations” on the alleged sexual abuses. The Philippine envoys to Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Egypt, Libya and Lebanon were summoned to shed light on the expose made Tuesday by Walden Bello, a member of the House of Representatives, about the so-called “sex for flight” that he said has been ongoing in some Philippine diplomatic missions. Citing information from “unimpeachable sources” within the DFA itself, Bello accused at least three officials in the Jordan, Kuwait and Syria embassies of “prostituting or soliciting sexual favors” from female workers who have sought refuge at the embassies while awaiting repatriation to the Philippines. These female workers have escaped from their employers after they were maltreated, harassed or even sexually abused.

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2013/06/22/957298/feature-probe-ordered-alleged-sex-scandal-phl-embassies-me

Newsline: Embassies decide to act against human trafficking

The embassies of Philippines, Sri Lanka and India have decided to take up the issue of human trafficking, mainly involving housemaids, with government agencies in Oman and the UAE. “We currently have 37 Filipinas lodged in our workers’ resource centre and 99 per cent of them were trafficked into the sultanate by Omani nationals after illegally paying manpower recruitment agencies on the border with Al Ain in UAE,” a senior labour welfare official in the Philippines Embassy in Oman said. “These undocumented women were brought (into Oman) without no-objection certificates from our embassy here. Our ambassador has taken up this issue with the sultanate’s immigration authorities. We are also in the process of contacting recruitment agencies in the Philippines and the UAE to put an end to this illegal practice.” However, Sri Lanka is yet to introduce the system of issuing no-objection certificates to housemaids wishing to come to Oman from neighbouring countries like the UAE. Manjula, a senior executive at Abu Faisal Manpower Agency located on Oman’s border with Al Ain, said that many Omanis come here looking for housemaids. “A housemaid is selected following an interview and within a day, taken to Oman.” Manjula further said that employers are willing to pay up to RO1,050 for Indonesian housemaids and RO750 for Nepalese and Indians.

http://www.muscatdaily.com/Archive/Oman/Embassies-decide-to-act-against-human-trafficking-1zx3

Newsline: South African ambassador exits Oman

Despite former ambassador Yusuf Saloojee’s return to South Africa, after he was suspended for allegations of financial misconduct dating back to his posting as ambassador to Iran, services at the South African Embassy in Muscat remain unchanged. Jordaan confirmed that Saloojee is no longer in Oman and that his duties at the embassy had been suspended. Jordaan, the charge d’affaires, said he will take over Saloojee’s duties pending the investigation in the allegations. Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Pierre Jordaan, Deputy Head of Mission, said all the normal services are available and the embassy is functioning normally in Saloojee’s absence.

http://www.timesofoman.com/echoice.aspx?detail=8594

Consular affairs: Indian Embassy warns against dubious visa service providers

The Indian Embassy has urged visa applicants seeking visa and other travel related services to beware of unauthorised companies that claim to provide facilitation services against a fee. “It has been brought to the notice of the Embassy of India, Muscat that some companies are providing visa or travel related assistance to the applicants seeking Indian visa services by way of charging additional fee, over and above the fee prescribed by the Embassy,” a statement issued by the Embassy said. “In this connection, Embassy of India would like to clarify that M/s BLS International is the only authorised outsourcing agency for passports, passport related miscellaneous services as well as visa services for which Embassy of India has prescribed Service Provider fee of baisa 70 per passport/passport related service and RO 3.050 per visa service,” it noted. The Embassy further stressed that it had not authorised any individual, agency or company to provide any of these services against the payment of additional fees. “As such, all applicants seeking Indian visas are advised to approach only M/s BLS International LLC or its mobile collection centres across the Sultanate as notified and pay only as per the fee schedule prescribed by the Embassy,” the statement added.

http://main.omanobserver.om/node/103060