Saudi Arabia’s foreign ministry summoned on Tuesday the Lebanese ambassador in Riyadh and handed him a memorandum of protesting against the Lebanese foreign minister’s “shameful comments” toward the Kingdom, the official SPA reported.
Lebanese Foreign Minister Charbel Wehbe threatened to stoke new tensions in a television interview on Monday, when he appeared to blame the Gulf for the rise of ISIS in Iraq and neighboring Syria.
“Those countries of love, friendship and fraternity, they brought us ISIS,” he told al-Hurra without naming them.
Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed its strong condemnation and denunciation “of the disgraceful insults that [his] statements contained towards the Kingdom, its people and the brotherly Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries,” SPA reported.
The Kingdom’s foreign ministry reaffirmed that these statements are inconsistent with diplomatic norms and are inconsistent with the historical relations between Saudi Arabia and Lebanon.
“Given the repercussions that these disgraceful statements may have on the relations between the two brotherly countries, the Ministry summoned the Ambassador of the Lebanese Republic to the Kingdom to express the Kingdom’s rejection and denunciation of the abuses issued by the Lebanese Minister of Foreign Affairs, and he was handed an official memorandum of protest in this regard,” the statement on SPA concluded.
Lebanon’s president said on Tuesday the foreign minister’s critical comments about Gulf states did not reflect official policy, seeking to avoid a further strain on ties with countries that have been Lebanon’s allies and donors.