Saudi Arabia’s envoy to Beirut blasted Hezbollah on Thursday, calling on Lebanon’s political parties to prioritize the interests of their country and put an end to the Iran-backed group’s “terrorist hegemony.”
“Riyadh hopes that the political parties will give priority to the supreme interest of Lebanon... and end Hezbollah’s terrorist hegemony over every aspect of the state,” Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to Lebanon Waleed Bukhari said.
Bukhari’s comments were made days after Hezbollah’s leader Hassan Nasrallah launched a diatribe against Saudi Arabia and its leaders, accusing them of fomenting terrorism.
Speaking on the second anniversary of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani’s killing, Nasrallah also claimed that Saudi Arabia sent suicide bombers to Syria, Iraq and Yemen.
On Thursday, Nasrallah’s deputy doubled down on similar comments attacking Saudi Arabia.
“Hezbollah’s terrorist activities and regional military behavior threaten Arab national security,” Bukhari said in a statement to AFP.
Later in an interview with Al Arabiya, Bukhari said that ties between Beirut and Riyadh were “too deep” to be impacted by irresponsible comments.
“We call on the Lebanese government to stop activities affecting the Kingdom and the Gulf,” he said.
Saying that Saudi Arabia was keen on supporting the Lebanese people, Bukhari added: “[Saudi Arabia] and the international community are sharing the responsibility to preserve Lebanon’s stability and sovereignty.”
Lebanon’s ties with Gulf countries have soured since the outbreak of the Syrian war and Hezbollah’s support for the Houthis in Yemen.
Saudi Arabia pulled its ambassador from Beirut, and several other Gulf nations followed suit last year after a Lebanese minister voiced support for the Houthis and criticized Saudi Arabia.
Following Nasrallah’s comments earlier this week, Lebanon’s prime minister released a rare statement criticizing Hezbollah.
“For God’s sake, have mercy on Lebanon and the Lebanese people and stop [fueling] political and sectarian hatred,” Najib Mikati said in a series of tweets, adding that Nasrallah’s stance was not that of the Lebanese government.
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