Kuwait deports Beirut ambassador over Saudi-led intervention in Yemen

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A newspaper vendor compiles newspapers headlining a diplomatic dispute with Saudi Arabia at his stall in the Lebanese capital, Beirut, on October 30, 2021. – AFP

KUWAIT CITY: Kuwait has 48 hours to release Lebanon’s ambassador to the UAE on Saturday, a day after Saudi Arabia criticized the minister over Riyadh-led military intervention in Yemen. Given

The diplomatic row, which has seen Saudi Arabia suspend imports from Lebanon and Bahrain expels Beirut’s envoy from Manama, is another blow to a country already embroiled in political and economic crises. Is.

Lebanon was relying on financial aid from Gulf countries to save its economy.

“Kuwait […] The Lebanese ambassador is asked to leave the country within 48 hours, “the Kuwaiti Foreign Ministry said in a brief statement through the state-run KUNA news agency, noting that the UAE’s top diplomat in Beirut had also been recalled. is going.

The controversy began with an interview aired this week in which Lebanese Information Minister George Kordahi criticized the Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen.

In his remarks – which were recorded in August but aired on Monday – Kordahi called the seven-year war in the Arabian Peninsula “useless” and said it was time to end it.

Kordahi said Yemen’s Houthi rebels were “defending themselves.” […] Against external aggression, he added, “houses, villages, funerals and weddings are being bombed by the Saudi-led coalition.”

The Houthis have the backing of Saudi Arabia’s regional rival, Iran, which also has significant influence in Lebanon because of its strong support for the powerful Hezbollah movement.

Following the Lebanese minister’s remarks, Saudi Arabia announced on Friday that it was recalling its ambassador and had given Beirut’s ambassador 48 hours to leave Riyadh.

His words have prompted calls for him to resign or be fired.

Lebanese Druze leader Walid Jumblatt said on Twitter: “Enough of the catastrophe. Dismiss the minister who will destroy our relations with the Arabian Gulf before it is too late.”

‘unacceptable’

Kuwait’s foreign ministry said the expulsion and recall was based on the Gulf Cooperation Council countries’ “failure of the Lebanese government to deal with” unacceptable and reprehensible statements against Saudi Arabia and other countries. “

The GCC is a six-member regional body that includes Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Oman and Qatar.

Kuwait’s decision was also based on the failure of the Lebanese government. […] To curb the ongoing and growing drug trafficking in Kuwait and the rest of the GCC, ”the ministry added.

Comments about the smuggling are echoed by Riyadh’s line, which on Friday extended all restrictions on imports from Lebanon to Saudi Arabia.

In a statement on Friday, Saudi Arabia also cited Lebanon’s failure to curb the export of the drug menace. […] The country, especially in light of Hezbollah’s control of all ports. “

Saudi Arabia announced in June that it had seized thousands of Captagon tablets hidden in a consignment of fruit from Lebanon.

Captagon, a drug that is popular among fighters in war zones, usually combines amphetamines, caffeine and other substances in pill form.

Saudi Arabia, which has strong influence over many small Gulf states, has backed away from its former ally Lebanon in recent years, angered by Hezbollah’s influence.

In late 2017, then-Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who had been backed by Saudi Arabia for years, announced in a televised address from Riyadh that he was resigning, citing Iran’s “grip” on his country. Are happening

He spent two weeks in Riyadh amid speculation that he was under house arrest before the French intervention. He withdrew his resignation after returning to Lebanon.

Suleiman Franzia, head of Lebanon’s Murada Movement and a supporter of Kordahi’s nomination as minister, stepped forward in his defense on Saturday.

He said he did not nominate her “as a sacrifice to anyone.”

Franzia added, “Kordahi’s remarks reflect his opinion … he suggested I submit my resignation … but I refused because he did nothing wrong,” Franzia added. Added.



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