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US urges diplomatic channels to remain open after Lebanon-Gulf crisis

The State Department official noted that Washington’s charge d’affaires in Beirut met with Lebanon’s foreign minister on Saturday to discuss the recent developments.

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The US on Saturday urged all diplomatic channels remain open between Beirut and the Gulf after several countries expelled Lebanese diplomats due to critical comments about Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates by Lebanon’s Information Minister George Kordahi.

“We urge that all diplomatic channels remain open between the parties to ensure meaningful dialogue on the pressing issues facing Lebanon,” a State Department spokesperson told Al Arabiya English in the first public US response on the matter.

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The State Department official noted that Washington’s charge d’affaires in Beirut met with Lebanon’s foreign minister on Saturday to discuss the recent developments. The number two US diplomat in Beirut also took part in a crisis group meeting, which was made up of Lebanese officials.

On Friday, Riyadh ordered the immediate halt to all Lebanese imports.

The decision followed “the insulting statements” made during an interview given by Lebanon’s Information Minister George Kordahi before he became a minister.

The row over critical comments made by Lebanese Information Minister Kordahi about the Arab Coalition military intervention in Yemen threw the government into a new crisis amid calls for Kordahi’s resignation.

Bahrain, Kuwait and the UAE followed suit by asking the top Lebanese diplomats in their countries to leave.

Separately, Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister said on Saturday the latest crisis with Lebanon was due to the dominance of the Iran-backed Hezbollah.

Prince Faisal bin Farhan said the political scene in Lebanon was weakening state institutions “in a way that makes Lebanon continue to process in a direction against the interests of the people of Lebanon.”

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