Oman denies weapon smuggling into Yemen

Bin Alawi says his country is ready to clarify any doubts with ‘our brothers in Saudi Arabia’

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Gulf News

Muscat: Oman does not have a special relationship with Al Houthi militants in Yemen, the country’s Foreign Affairs Minister said in a recent interview with the Saudi daily Okaz.

“Our relationship with Al Houthis is the same with other countries,” Yousuf Bin Alawi said.

He rejected reports that Oman was involved in smuggling weapons to Yemen.

“No Iranian weapons have crossed Omani territory into Yemen,” he said.

“If there is any doubt, Oman is ready to clarify to our brothers in Saudi Arabia,” Bin Alawi added.

He denied Oman was communicating with ousted Yemeni leader Ali Abdullah Saleh.

“He has not contacted us, but if he did, we would be open to talking to him,” he said.

Oman against war

Regarding Oman’s decision not to take part in the Saudi-led coalition fighting to restore Yemen’s internationally recognised government, Bin Alawi said his country was not interested in involving itself in any war.

“War is destructive,” he said.

Oman has played the role of mediator in the conflict in neighbouring Yemen and it has hosted Al Houthi leaders and engaged in several initiatives and road maps to peace.

He said a new road map to end the 19-month-old civil war could be presented within two to three weeks.

Bin Alawi, who blamed all Yemeni parties for the war, said the “level of self-destruction has finally made Yemenis look for an exit” to the crisis.

The foreign minister said his country maintains “good” relations with Iran and defended Oman’s decision not to close its embassy in Damascus.

“Syria is a member state of the United Nations. Everyone deals with President Bashar Al Assad,” Bin Alawi said.

“Syria is in the hands of the world’s big players: Russia and the US,” he said.