Oman celebrated ten years of rule by its young Sandhurst-???rained Sultan on Tuesday (18 November).
SV Sultan of Oman Qaboos bin Said arrives with Duke of Gloucester at stadium in Muscat, Oman ZOOM INTO CU sultan as anthem is played
GV Children carrying coloured flags march into stadium (2 shots)
SV Oman coat of arms illuminated in stadium
GV Children in musical display (2 shots)
GV Teenagers carry flower-bedecked hoops in musical display
GV Men with coloured flags in musical display
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Background: Oman celebrated ten years of rule by its young Sandhurst-???rained Sultan on Tuesday (18 November). The festivities were marked by children performing in Muscat stadium for Sultan qaboos bin Said, and his special guest for the National Day ceremonies, the Duke of Gloucester.
SYNOPSIS: Oman has had a special relationship with Britain since the nineteenth century. The old colonial masters granted the Sultanate full independence in 1951, and sealed that move with a treaty of friendship between Oman and United Kingdom.
These celebrations were held three Sultans and ten years later, but the special relationship still stands. Sultan Qaboos served as an officer with the British Army, and in the ten years since he took power from his father in a bloodless coup, the Sultan has often aligned his country with Britain and the West.
Oman only contained half a mile of paved road in 1970, but, in the last decade, Sultan Qaboos has moved his country into the 20th century. The huge increase in oil prices has meant that its modest production of 300 thousand barrels a day has been enough to pay for an ambitious development programme. Roads, schools and clinics have been provided, hospitals built, and soon the Oman's first university is to open in Nizwa.
Despite these advancements, sultan Qaboos told his National Day audience that Oman felt threatened. Its geographical position at the southern coast of the Arabian Peninsula makes the country strategically important. It guards the entrance to the Straits of Hormuz and hence the Persian Gulf, an area President Carter declared was of vital interest to the United States, and an area in which the Soviet Union has said it is increasingly threatened by what is calls "imperialist forces". Sultan Qaboos sees Oman's threat as coming from Marxist south Yemen. He said if Oman was attacked, the country would not only fight back but would also seek the active help of Western countries. This stance has contributed towards alienating the Sultanate in much of the Arab world. It has also left Sultan Qaboos to work the tricky path between maintaining independence while acknowledging the need for powerful friends.