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Entries in Oman (6)

Saturday
Jan212012

Yemen's President Seeks Medical Treatment in the US

GAMAL NOMAN/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Obama administration is reluctantly allowing Yemen’s President Ali Abdullah Saleh to enter the United States sometime this week,  a U.S. official tells ABC News.

Saleh is expected to receive a U.S. visa on Saturday and will likely depart Yemen for neighboring Oman on Sunday, the official said. He is expected to arrive in the United States later in the week.

It is unclear how long Saleh would stay in the U.S., though the spokesman for the Yemeni embassy in Washington tweeted this morning that Saleh had no plans to relocate permanently outside of Yemen or to seek political asylum in the U.S.

A spokesman for the State Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Saleh had applied for a U.S. visa weeks ago, citing a desire to seek medical treatment, but U.S. officials sat on it, trying to find somewhere else in the region that would accept him. They found no takers.

Saleh has repeatedly balked after pledging to step aside last year.

Ultimately the U.S. official said the Obama administration determined it was better to get President Saleh out of Yemen, where he is viewed as a destabilizing figure as the country attempts to transition from decades under his rule, and to deal with any blowback from allowing him onto U.S. soil.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Sep262011

Freed American Hikers Say They 'Were Held Hostage'

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- The two U.S. hikers imprisoned in Iran for the past two years, Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer, said they were "held hostage" because they were American.

Fattal and Bauer spoke publicly Sunday about the details of their imprisonment for the first time since regaining their freedom last week.

At a New York City hotel, each man read prepared statements discussing what they endured in Iranian prison and thanking those who fought for their release.

"Many times, too many times, we heard the screams of other prisoners being beaten and there was nothing we could do to help them," Fattal said.  "How can we forgive the Iranian government when it continues to imprison so many other innocent people and prisoners of conscience?"

Bauer said one irony in the case was that they opposed the U.S. policy toward Iran which they believe was the impetus for their arrest and detention.

Fattal and Bauer arrived in New York before noon and addressed the media just under five hours later.

The two had spoken earlier in Oman, which had played a key part in the negotiations of the hikers' release.

"We hope someday to return to this wonderful country but for now we are eager to go home at last," Fattal said.

Oman is the same place that their companion Sarah Shourd went when she was freed from Iran nearly a year ago to the day.

Shourd was in Oman to greet Fattal and give a long welcoming kiss to her fiancée, Bauer.

"We will never forget the excitement of seeing our loved ones waiting for us at the foot of the plane.  The joy of embracing them all after so long will stay with us forever," Bauer said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Sep252011

Hikers Return to the U.S. After Two Years in Iranian Prison

ATTA KENARE/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The two U.S. hikers imprisoned in Iran for the past two years, Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer, left Oman and are finally on their way home to America Sunday after regaining their freedom last week.

Oman played a key part in the negotiations of the hikers' release.

"We hope someday to return to this wonderful country but for now we are eager to go home at last," said Fattal.

Fattal and Bauer are expected to arrive Sunday afternoon and will address the media in New York.

Oman is the same place that their companion Sarah Shourd went when she was freed from Iran nearly a year ago to the day.

Shourd was in Oman to greet Fattal and give a long welcoming kiss to her fiancée, Bauer.

"We will never forget the excitement of seeing our loved ones waiting for us at the foot of the plane. The joy of embracing them all after so long will stay with us forever," said Bauer.

"We are so happy we are free and so relieved we are free," Fattal told reporters upon arriving. "Our deepest gratitude to his majesty [Omani King] Sultan Qaboos [bin Said Al Said] for obtaining our release. We are sincerely grateful to the government of Oman for hosting us and our families."

Fattal, Bauer and Shourd were arrested two years ago while hiking along Iran's unmarked border with Iraq.

They were accused of spying and last month Fattal and Bauer were sentenced to eight years in prison.

Bauer, a freelance journalist, and Fattal, and environmental activist, have denied the charges, saying they were just hiking in Iraq's scenic north, and might have accidentally crossed an unmarked border with Iran.

Oman gave them a chance to put their 26 months in captivity far out of their minds.

"We were able to swim in the calm waters of the Gulf. We stayed up all night with our loved ones and watched the most beautiful sunrise we have ever seen. These experiences will be with us for the rest of our lives," said Fattal.

Fattal and Bauer have not said a word about their imprisonment, declining to answer all related questions from the press.

The hikers' families have described the freeing of Bauer and Fattal as "the best day of our lives."

President Obama also hailed the development earlier this week.

"I welcome the release of Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal from detention in Iran and am very pleased that they are being reunited with their loved ones," Obama said in a written statement Wednesday. "The tireless advocacy of their families over these two years has won my admiration, and is now coming to an end with Josh and Shane back in their arms. All Americans join their families and friends in celebrating their long-awaited return home."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Sep222011

US Hikers Freed from Iran Arrive in Oman

ABC News(MUSCAT, Oman) -- Shane Bauer and Joshua Fattal, the two U.S. hikers imprisoned in Iran for the past two years, sprinted to freedom Wednesday down the steps of a Royal Omani Air Force jet onto a tarmac in Muscat, Oman.

Looking healthy and upbeat, they were greeted by family and friends in an emotional scrum of smiles, hugs and tears, and a long kiss between Bauer and his fiancee, Sarah Shourd, a fellow American prisoner in Iran until one year ago this week.

"We are so happy we are free and so relieved we are free," Fattal, detained in Iran since 2009, told reporters upon arriving.  "Our deepest gratitude to his majesty [Omani King] Sultan Qaboos [bin Said Al Said] for obtaining our release.  We are sincerely grateful to the government of Oman for hosting us and our families."

Fattal, Bauer and Shourd were arrested two years ago while hiking along Iran's unmarked border with Iraq.  They were accused of spying, and last month Fattal and Bauer were sentenced to eight years in prison.

"Two years in prison is too long," Bauer told reporters, "and we sincerely hope for the freedom of other political prisoners and other unjustly imprisoned people in America and Iran."

The hikers' families have described the freeing of Bauer and Fattal as "the best day of our lives."

President Obama also hailed the development.

"I welcome the release of Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal from detention in Iran and am very pleased that they are being reunited with their loved ones," Obama said in a written statement.  "The tireless advocacy of their families over these two years has won my admiration, and is now coming to an end with Josh and Shane back in their arms.  All Americans join their families and friends in celebrating their long-awaited return home."

The men's release ends two years of diplomatic wrangling and, more recently, weeks of political infighting, as Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the country's judiciary argued about freeing the Americans.

Bauer and Fattal were released after an Iranian judge who had twice delayed their release signed an order Wednesday to free the men following deposits of $500,000 bail each.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Mar062011

Japanese Tanker, Crew Rescued from Pirates by US Destroyer

The Agency Collectiom/Stocktrek Images/Getty Images (file)(MANAMA, Bahrain) -- A U.S. Navy destroyer saved a Japanese-owned oil tanker from pirate capture this weekend east of Oman.

According to a press release form the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), the USS Bulkeley was able to save the 24-member crew of the oil tanker MV Guanabara. Four pirates were captured in the rescue.

The Bulkeley received a distress call from the tanker Saturday in the waters near Duqm, Oman. The CMF's counter-piracy mission, with assistance from Turkish warship TCG Giresun and NATO, secured the release of the ship and its crew early Sunday.

No gunfire was exchanged in the rescue.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Dec052010

Defense Secretary Gates Visits Oman Sultan

Photo Courtesy - U.S. Department of Defense(MUSCAT, Oman) -- Secretary of Defense Robert Gates arrived in Muscat, Oma, Sunday to meet with the nation's leaders. The visit comes in the wake of the WikiLeaks latest release of diplomatic cables, and Iran's first batch of "yellowcake" enriched uranium.

Gates is stopping in Oman before travelling to the carrier USS Abraham Lincoln. The layover was arranged partly for diplomatic reasons, due to Sultan Qaboos' help in coordinating a dialogue with Iran in Bahrain last week.

"One of the things we highly value in the relationship with the sultan is the fact that he is widely regarded as an honest broker in the region. He’s someone who enjoys a lot of respect from all parties," a defense department official told reporters.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio