Oman. At the beginning of the year, Oman received ten Yemenites from Guant芍namo, the largest one-day transfer of prisoners from the US detention camp since it was established in 2002. According to countryaah, the current population of Oman is 5,106,637. Oman had thus received a total of 20 prisoners from Guant芍namo, more than any other country except the United Arab Emirates, which received as many. Until now, the Yemenites were allowed to stay in Oman for humanitarian reasons given the state of war in Yemen.
In November, US Secretary of State John Kerry visited the country and met with Sultan Qabus ibn Said to discuss the war in neighboring Yemen. According to thereligionfaqs, Kerry expressed gratitude for the role played by the Sultanate in helping American citizens captured by the Yemeni rulers in Yemen to be free. Oman was the only country on the Arabian Peninsula that did not participate in the war between the government and the neighboring rebels.
Among the more traditional states of the Persian Gulf, the Oman remained on the threshold of the 21st century. still subject to the absolute rule of Sultan Sayyid Qābūs ibn Sa̔īd, who came to power after ousting his father in 1970, even if some faint signs of change began to appear.
In September 2000 the Advisory Council, established in 1991 with the exclusive task of assisting the sultan on various matters, excluding defense, was elected for the first time directly by the people; the electoral body, however, was still severely restricted (just 25 % of the population). An enlargement of the suffrage was implemented in the subsequent elections, held in October 2003, in which all citizens over the age of 21 could vote.years. Among those elected were also two women, testifying to the regime’s efforts to promote greater involvement of the female population in public life. The appointment, for the first time in the history of the country, of women in the office of ministers also included: they were entrusted with the Ministry of Aeronautical Industries (March 2003), the Ministry of Tourism and that of Social Development (respectively June and Oct. 2004). A further sign of change was the approval in 2004 of a new law on information which envisaged the possibility of setting up private radio and television broadcasters starting from 2006. In early 2005 Numerous members of the army held responsible for conspiring against the state were arrested.
In foreign policy, the country has reiterated its ties with Western states in recent years and, after the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 in New York and Washington, sided with the United States-led international anti-terrorism coalition. In the following years, commercial relations with Washington intensified, culminating in the signing of a bilateral free trade agreement in January 2006.