MUSCAT: The fourth annual conference of Anglo-Omani Society began at Shangri-La’s Barr al Jissah Resort & Spa on Saturday.

A press release stated that the theme of this year’s conference is ‘Oman: A Gateway to Asia’.

The event is seeing participation of a number of Omani and British representatives.

Addressing the Omani and British participants during an introductory session, Sheikh Aflah Hamad al Rawahi spoke on ‘Understanding the reality of Islam’.

The delegation later visited the historic Muttrah harbour and its surrounding forts.

Sayyid Badr bin Hamad bin Hamoud al Busaidi, secretary general in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs opened the proceedings which was followed by speeches by Talal bin Sulaiman al Rahbi, Eng Jamal Aziz and Dr Khalid bin Abdulwahab al Balushi who spoke on Oman’s regional role as a hub for eastern opportunities.

The day two of the conference on Sunday will be opened by H E Jon Wilks, the British Ambassador to the sultanate, followed by discussions with Abdulsalam bin Mohammed al Murshidi, Maqbool bin Ali Sultan and Dr Hatim bin Bakhit al Shanfari, who will talk about Oman’s historical and future trade test with the east.

Oliver Blake, the UK chairman of the Anglo-Omani New Generation Group (NGG), said, “The aim of the conference is first and foremost to maintain our historic friendship through the younger generations of both countries. These annual gatherings are also an excellent opportunity to develop our special relationship, exchange ideas and explore new areas for further cooperation.”

Speaking on behalf of NGG Oman, Sheikh Maan al Rawahi, its chairman said, “As with our fathers before us, we have become close friends with our colleagues from the UK and always look forward to these gatherings and opportunities to exchange ideas.”

Last year, the event saw 24 British and Omani representatives from a number of public and private sector organisations visiting Oxford University’s Pembroke College for a two-day seminar on the East African commercial development.

This year’s event will conclude on Monday.