Ahmed Aboul Gheit, the Secretary General of the Arab League, on Wednesday said he deeply regretted Lebanese Foreign Minister Charbel Wehbe’s comments on Gulf Arab states, adding that his statements lacked diplomatic decency.
Aboul Gheit said these statements contributed to the strain on Lebanese-Gulf relations.
An official source in the Arab League’s General Secretariat quoted the Secretary General as saying that the language of dialogue used by senior Arab state officials should always reflect the feelings of brotherhood and mutual respect among Arab people, and must avoid what stirs up hatred and fuels discord.
He expressed his deep regret as Wehbe’s statements come at a very critical time for Lebanon, when it needs support.
Wehbe asked the Lebanese president to be relieved of his duties on Wednesday, the presidency wrote on Twitter, after his comments in a television interview strained ties with his country’s traditional Gulf Arab allies and donors.
Charbel Wehbe, who is a minister in Lebanon’s caretaker government, stoked tensions with remarks on Monday that suggested Gulf states had supported the rise of ISIS and other disparaging comments.
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Bahrain summoned Lebanon’s ambassadors and issued formal complaints.
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,” the official 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.