Middle East

Lebanese prime minister calls on information chief to make right decision to solve Saudi row

Najib Mikati instructs foreign minister not to travel abroad, set up crisis desk to resolve tissue

İdiris Okuduci   | 30.10.2021
Lebanese prime minister calls on information chief to make right decision to solve Saudi row Former Prime Minister Najib Mikati ( LEBANESE PRESIDENCY - Anadolu Agency )

Beyrut

BEIRUT 

Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati late Friday called on his information minister to make an appropriate decision by considering the national interests concerning the latest row with Saudi Arabia. 

The Prime Minister's Office said Mikati consulted with President Michel Aoun after Saudi Arabia cut off diplomatic relations with Beirut and stopped all imports after Lebanese Information Minister George Kordahi criticized the Saudi-led war in Yemen against armed Houthi rebels.

Mikati instructed Foreign Minister Abdullah Bou Habib not to travel abroad and to set up a crisis desk to resolve the issue with Saudi Arabia.

Earlier Friday, Saudi Arabia recalled its ambassador to Lebanon for consultations and asked the Lebanese ambassador to leave the Kingdom within 48 hours, Saudi Press Agency reported.

That was precipitated by comments made by Kordahi against Riyadh in a televised interview said to be recorded before he took his post in the new Cabinet headed by Mikati.

Asked if he "thinks that the Houthis, like Hezbollah, are defending their land as an armed organization," Kordahi responded: "Of course they are defending themselves ... My personal opinion is that this war in Yemen needs to end. Houses, buildings, villages, and cities are being attacked by fighter jets."

A Saudi Foreign Ministry statement carried by SPA said Hezbollah damaged Riyadh-Beirut relations and the “terrorist” group influences the decisions of the Lebanese state.

To avert the crisis, Mikati said Kordahi made the comment before taking his post and it does not reflect the government's position.

He added that the remarks in no way demonstrate Lebanon's policy with Arab countries, especially Saudi Arabia.

Yemen has been engulfed by violence and instability since 2014, when Iran-aligned Houthi rebels captured much of the country, including the capital, Sanaa.

A Saudi-led coalition aimed at reinstating the Yemeni government has worsened the situation and caused one of the world’s worst man-made humanitarian crises.


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