Kuwait asks Lebanon minister to retract comments on rebuilding part of Beirut’s port

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Kuwait’s foreign minister on Saturday criticized comments made by Lebanon’s caretaker economy minister Amin Salam about the rebuilding of part of Beirut’s port, in a fresh diplomatic disagreement between Lebanon and Gulf states.

Salam on Wednesday had urged Kuwait to rebuild Lebanon’s main wheat silos, which were built in 1969 with a grant from the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development and gutted by the Beirut port blast of 2020.

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Salam said Kuwait could decide to rebuilt the silos with “the stroke of a pen.”

Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Salem Abdullah al-Jaber al-Sabah said Salam’s comments were “incompatible” with political norms on how decisions were made and urged the Lebanese minister to retract them to protect bilateral ties.

Salam was quoted by Lebanese media on Saturday as saying his comments were referring to how quickly the decision could be taken, but that he meant no offense.

Lebanese-Gulf relations deteriorated in 2021 over comments by Lebanon’s then-information minister about the Arab-led military intervention in Yemen.

At the time, Gulf countries, including Kuwait, withdrew their envoys to Lebanon. They returned in 2022.

Separately, Kuwait on Saturday urged its citizens in Lebanon to stay vigilant following days of clashes in a Palestinian camp in southern Lebanon. In a statement later, caretaker prime minister Najib Mikati in a statement hours later sought to reassure the Gulf countries their citizens in Lebanon were safe.

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