Lebanon crisis

Lebanon’s information minister resigns after Saudi Arabia comments

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Lebanon’s Information Minister George Kordahi announced on Friday his resignation to pave the way for a possible resolution of a diplomatic spat between Lebanon and Saudi Arabia sparked by comments he made.

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He also explained that he understood from Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati, whom he met three days ago, that the French want him to resign before Macron’s visit to Saudi Arabia this weekend in order to help open a dialogue with Saudi officials about Lebanon.

Kordahi, a Christian whose Marada party is backed by Hezbollah, had refused to resign in the weeks after his comments even as PM Mikati asked him to put “national interest” first.

“I understood from Mikati ... that the French want my resignation to take place ahead of his (Macron’s) visit,” Kordahi told the news conference, saying he believed Mikati had assurances that Macron would discuss Lebanon’s ties with Riyadh.

Critical comments by Kordahi on the war in Yemen in late October led to expel Lebanon’s envoy to the kingdom, recall its ambassador and ban all imports from Lebanon, dealing a new blow to the country’s ailing economy.

Other Gulf states that are historical allies of Lebanon, including the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait, took similar punitive diplomatic measures.

Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister said last month that the kingdom’s decision to cut ties was driven by Iran-backed Hezbollah’s growing grip on Lebanon and that dealing with Lebanon’s Hezbollah-backed government “is not productive and not helpful.”

Hezbollah had backed Kordahi’s decision not to resign, saying that Riyadh had contrived the crisis and Lebanon should not bow to foreign dictates.

Read more:

Saudi Arabia sees no purpose in engaging Lebanon at this time: FM

US says it understands Saudi Arabia’s concerns after Lebanon rift, calls for dialogue

Qatar calls Lebanon to take measures to heal worsening Lebanese-Gulf relations

-with Reuters

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