US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis arrived in Oman on Sunday ahead of a meeting with Sultan Qaboos to discuss ongoing security concerns, including the situation in neighboring Yemen.
Mattis’s visit, his first as Pentagon chief, comes amid regional strains over the Yemen conflict and a diplomatic rift between Qatar and Gulf and Arab countries Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt.
“The unity of the (Gulf Cooperation Council) has been strained, to put it mildly, so I am also wanting to hear what the sultan says can be done about that, as well as the situation on his border in Yemen with the various factions that are fighting there and certainly the civil war,” Mattis told reporters accompanying him on the trip.
“The Gulf's cohesion is critical we believe to maintaining stability in the region.”
Mattis is also slated to meet with Oman's defense minister Monday and other senior Omani officials.