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EghtesadOnline: Oman's Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said, the Arab world's longest-ruling monarch known for promoting peace, has died, according to an announcement by state media.

"With sadness ... the Omani Sultanate court mourns ... our Sultan Qaboos bin Said ... who God chose to be by his side on Friday evening," the announcement on Saturday morning said.

According to Financial Tribune, it added that the 79-year-old Qaboos died after "a wise and triumphant march rich with generosity that embraced Oman and extended to the Arab, Muslim and entire world, and achieved a balanced policy that the whole world respected".

Sultan Qaboos, who ruled Oman for more than four decades, is credited with transforming the country from a backward, divided and unstable state on the tip of the Arabian Peninsula into a relatively modern and prosperous oil-driven economy.

A three-day period of mourning has been declared in Oman and the country's flag will be flown at half-mast for 40 days.

Later on Saturday, Oman named Qaboos's cousin Haitham bin Tariq Al Said as the country's new ruler in a smooth transition, Aljazeera reported.

The former culture minister, 65, was sworn in before the ruling family council on Saturday morning. 

State television said authorities had opened a letter by Qaboos naming his successor, without elaborating, before announcing Haitham bin Tariq as the new ruler.

Qaboos's funeral procession began in the capital, Muscat, as thousands gathered in the streets leading up to the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque where prayers were held before noon, ahead of his burial.

Sultan Haitham stood in front facing the casket, with the traditional curved dagger, or khanjar, strapped to his waist. Qaboos was later buried in a family cemetery.

In his first address to the nation, Sultan Haitham promised to continue his predecessor's foreign policy which made Oman an important regional mediator.


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