A Distant Friend in Need

Sultan Qaboos bin Said of Oman is the most forthright, and therefore often the loneliest, of America's friends on the Arabian peninsula. He is also the most optimistic, as TIME Diplomatic Correspondent Strobe Talbott found during an interview with the 41-year-old monarch.

Qaboos (pronounced Caboose) has been the only leader in the region to support openly the late Egyptian President Anwar Sadat's separate peace with Israel and to endorse the Camp David agreements. Like Ronald Reagan, Qaboos feels that the most realistic possibility for a Middle East settlement is some form of Jordanian-Palestinian confederation...

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