“Oman will always have a special place in my heart as it was my first posting as an ambassador. This was also my first posting in the Gulf region so I had a great opportunity of learning things,” said H E Angelika.
The German envoy lauded the ‘balanced’ foreign policy of the sultanate. “My three years here were also crucial years. I was privileged to witness the changes and developments taking place here. I am greatly impressed by Oman’s foreign policy which pursues a very balanced and moderate approach in dealing with other countries.”
Fondly remembering the day she presented her credentials to His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said, H E Angelika said,
“The occasion was extremely ceremonial and so much more special for me as a first-time ambassador.”
“As I presented my credentials to His Majesty, I was asked to say a few words in Arabic and I stumbled upon the words – aurak ittimadi – which means the letter of credentials. I was petrified. But then His Majesty helped me complete the phrase. It was extremely kind of him. I was so touched,” she said adding that the incident will always stay back in her mind.
“He is an impressive statesman,” the German ambassador said while applauding His Majesty’s leadership and vision.
She is quick to point out that during her term the ‘German-Oman relations continued to flourish’ and that Germany is today ‘the fifth largest trading partner of the sultanate’. “Germany considers Oman as an important partner in the region,” said H E Angelika.
H E Angelika counts last year’s state visit by the then German President Christian Wulff as a key milestone of her term in Oman. The 40th anniversary of the sultanate’s renaissance and the inauguration of the Royal Opera House Muscat are two of the major events that she says she would never forget.
The German envoy felt that her three years in Oman, in addition to helping her grow as a diplomat, have significantly increased her understanding of cultures and societies in the region.
“As a young girl, I had read this book Memoirs of the Arabian Princess (authored by Emily Ruete, previously Sayyida Salamah bint Said, Princess of Zanzibar and Oman), which helped shape my view about the Arab world. Then, for many years, I got to know about the region through media and newspapers,” she said, also acknowledging that popular media creates stereotypes about the region.
“There’s a big generalisation when people refer to the Arab world. One has to understand that there is no stereotypical Arab world because each country in the region is different from the other with such diverse cultural backgrounds,” said H E Angelika.
“Between (reading) that book and now (in Oman), I’ve been exposed to the cultures and peoples of the region. I was extremely impressed by the diversity in Omani society and how people from various background contribute to the development of the country. This diversity of cultures comes not only from the Arabian Peninsula but also from the Indian Ocean and the countries beyond. This was something which I had not known,” she added.
Stressing that she treasures the friendships she has forged during her stay in Oman, H E
Angelika said she’ll miss them the most when she departs. “This is perhaps the hardest part for a diplomat that you’ve to leave friends behind,” she said. “I’ll also miss the spectacular landscape, so unique to the sultanate,” she added.
The German diplomat’s next destination is another Gulf nation, Qatar, where she is scheduled to take charge as her country’s ambassador next month.
“Since I’ll not be very far from here (Oman), there’s a high chance that I may come back for weekends or vacation. Also, I would love to do things in Oman that I was not able to do as an ambassador… like exploring the country as a tourist for instance,” she quipped.
H E Angelika felt that her experience in Oman will stand her in good stead in her new base. “I think I’ve this advantage now that I’ve already served in the (Gulf) region, so I’ll not be on unfamiliar ground,” she said.
She extended her best wishes for Eid and the coming holidays to everyone in Oman.