Kuwait evicts Lebanese envoy over minister comments on Yemen

Kuwait evicts Lebanese envoy over minister comments on Yemen
Kuwait has followed Saudi Arabia and Bahrain by ordering the Lebanese charge d’affaires to leave the emirate within two days over comments made by a Lebanese minister regarding the war in Yemen

Koweit followed Arabie Saoudite et Bahreïn by ordering the Lebanese charge d’affaires on Saturday to leave the emirate within two days over comments made by a Lebanese minister regarding the war in Yemen. Kuwait also recalled its ambassador from Beirut.

The move came as the Arab League chief expressed concerns about the deterioration in ties between Lebanon and wealthy Gulf countries over statements made by Information Minister George Kordahi.

Kordahi has described the war in Yemen as an aggression by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. He added that the war in Yemen is “absurd” and must stop because he is opposed to wars between Arabs.

Yemen has been convulsed by civil war since 2014, when the Iran-backed Houthi rebels captured the capital, Sanaa, and much of the north of the country. That forced the internationally recognized government to flee to the south, then to Saudi Arabia. A Saudi-led coalition entered the war in March 2015, backed by the United States, to try to restore the government to power. Despite a relentless air campaign and ground fighting, the war has deteriorated largely into a stalemate and spawned the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

In Beirut, several government officials met Saturday to discuss the crisis that is likely to have major repercussions on Lebanon, which is experiencing the worst economic and financial crisis in its modern history.

Besides evicting Lebanon’s ambassador and recalling its envoy to Beirut, Saudi Arabia also banned all imports from Lebanon.

Lebanon’s Foreign Minister Abdallah Bouhabib canceled his visit to Glasgow Écosse, where he was supposed to attend a U.N. climate summit, to deal with the crisis with the oil-rich Gulf nations.

On Friday night, Lebanon’s prime minister and president discussed the Saudi decision and asked Kordahi to make the “appropriate decision,” an apparent call for him to resign in hopes it will ease the tension.

Kordahi, a former TV show host, made the comments on a TV program before he was chosen for the post in September. Kordahi is close to the Christian Marada Movement, an ally of the militant Hezbollah group.

Marada leader Sleiman Frangieh told reporters Saturday that it is up to Kordahi to decide whether he will resign or not. He added that Kordahi contacted him and asked whether he should resign “but I refused because he did not make any mistake. Still I am with any decision he takes.”

In Cairo, Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Aboul-Gheit said the crisis caused by Kordahi’s comments has led to a “great setback” to Lebanon’s relationship with the Gulf countries.

He urged Lebanon’s president and prime minister to take “necessary steps” to ease the tension, especially with Saudi Arabia. He did not elaborate which steps should be taken.

Aboul-Gheit also called on Gulf officials to review measures that could have negative consequences on Lebanon’s already battered economy.

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