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Oman denies special relationship with Houthis

Oman's foreign minister has denied that his country has a special relationship with the Houthi rebels in Yemen. "Our relationship with the Houthis is the same as with other groups," Yusuf Bin Alawi told the Saudi daily Okaz.

He also denied that Oman facilitates the sending of Iranian weapons across the border to the Houthis. "If there is any doubt, Oman is ready to clarify to our brothers in Saudi Arabia," Bin Alawi added.

The minister was pushed to make a statement after Omani trucks filled with weapons and apparently en route to the rebels were apprehended by Yemeni resistance forces. The first reported incident was in late September and the second came just a few days later, in early October.

Although he hasn't ruled out talks, Bin Alawi said that Oman is not in communication with ousted Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who is allied with the Houthis against the recognised government. "He has not contacted us, but if he did, we would be open to talking to him," he explained.

Oman is the only Gulf Cooperation Council member not to have joined the Saudi-led coalition which is conducting military operations in Yemen. Instead, the government in Muscat has played the role of mediator in the conflict in neighbouring Yemen. "War is destructive," said Oman's foreign minister when asked about the military operation.

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