In 1996, the government published a 5-year plan aimed at
balancing the budget in 2000. According to
the project also aimed to reduce oil dependency, and
included further privatizations and stimulus for foreign
That same year, the Sultan introduced new rules for
appointing his successor. If, within 3 days of his death,
the family was unable to agree on his successor, the
candidate he had appointed himself should be appointed.
In January 1997, Oman became one of the first Arab
countries to establish diplomatic and trade relations with
the State of Israel. The month later, however, the
approaches slowed as the Arab League questioned the building
of new settlements in eastern Jerusalem.
In early 1998, Oman and the other members of the Gulf
Cooperation Council discussed the possibility of unlinking
their currencies with the dollar, in order to prevent future
declines in oil sales revenues. The six Member States of the
Council have 45% of the world's known oil resources, but
lose many millions of dollars annually due to the decline in
its value against other currencies.
In May 1999, Oman and the United Arab Emirates signed an
agreement defining their common border with Abu Dhabi. Both
parties agreed that the exact border between Oman and the
other Emirates must ultimately be determined.
After 18 years of standstill, the government began
recruiting young people again to Oman's army in Makram - an
area that belonged to Oman until the late 1950s, but which
today belongs to Pakistan. Oman had ceased its recruiting
practice when it was attacked by Pakistani troops in 1982.
In March 2000, US President Bill Clinton visited the
country, and Sultan Quabús took the opportunity to express
support for the US declaration that the country intends to
lift some of the sanctions on Iran.
The government granted amnesty to illegal immigrant
workers in April 2001. The amnesty allowed illegal
immigrants who were not charged with crime to leave the
country after paying a $ 125 fine to the Department of
Labor. According to the government, an improvement in the
normal fine of US $ 25 per the day the residence permit has
In July, three Pakistanis were executed after illegally
introducing drugs into the country. They were placed on an
execution platoon and shot in prison in al-Manouwama - a
district in Muscat.
In November 2002, Sultan Qabus decreed an extension of
voting rights to all citizens over the age of 21. Until
then, the voting rights had been reserved for a select group
of local leaders, intellectuals and prominent business
people - about a quarter of the $ 1.8 million. citizens who
could be eligible to vote.
To reduce unemployment, the government tried to replace
the foreign labor with local ones. It also decided that all
government employees from 2003 should be from Oman. Acc.
Official statistics are one quarter of the country's
Through the discovery of new oil sources and the
application of modern extraction methods, the country
expected to increase its daily oil production by 50,000
barrels. Otherwise, production would have been declining. To
improve the economy, the government also sought to utilize
other energy reserves such as gas.
In October 2003, the first elections were held in the
country. The suffrage age was set at 21 years. The voters
elected 83 members to the Consultative Assembly, including 2
women. In March, for the first time in the country's history
(30-year-old sheikh Aisha bin Khalfan bin Jameel al-Sayabiyah),
a woman had been appointed minister. She was given
responsibility for the Ministry of Crafts.
In May 2005, 31 people were sentenced to between 1 and 20
years in prison, accused of "conspiracy with a view to armed
government overthrow". However, those convicted were
pardoned a month later.
In July, the human rights activist and former member of
the Consultative Assembly, Taiba al-Mawali, was sentenced to
six months in prison for criticizing the authorities in
articles published on the Internet. Another human rights
activist, Abdula al-Reyami, was arrested for criticizing the
lack of freedom in the Sultanate.