Clinton Thanks Oman for Help Freeing US Hikers

Posted October 18th, 2011 at 11:05 pm (UTC-5)
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U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has arrived in Oman, where she will thank Sultan Qaboos for his country's help in securing the release of three American hikers who were held in Iran.

Clinton arrived in the capital, Muscat, on Wednesday after visiting Libya.

Her visit comes less than a month after Oman arranged for the payment of a $1 million bail to Iran, paving the way for Tehran's release of Americans Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer.

The men had been in an Iranian prison since 2009 after being convicted of spying. Last year, Oman arranged the bail payment and release of Sarah Shourd, a third U.S. hiker who was arrested with the men.

The French news agency says Clinton and Sultan Qaboos will also discuss reform efforts in Oman.

On Saturday, voters elected representatives in the 84-member consultative Shura council. It marked Oman's first general elections since pro-reform demonstrations took place in the country earlier this year. The government has pledged to meet most of the demands made by protesters.

Clinton's last trip to Oman was in January. The visit took place as Sultan Qaboos marked his 40 year in power.

Clinton's tour of the region has also included a stop in Malta.