Arab League | Concerns over deteriorating relations between Beirut and Gulf states
Defence Redefined
Published on 31/10/2021 at 12:00

The Arab League said yesterday it was concerned about the rapid deterioration of relations between Lebanon and the Gulf states following the critical remarks made by the Lebanese Minister of Intelligence regarding Saudi Arabia’s military interference in Yemen.

In a statement, Ahmed Aboul Gheit said the Arab League called on Gulf countries to consider measures they would take to avoid further negative consequences for Lebanon’s collapsing economy.

Ahmed Aboul Gheit expressed his deep concern and sadness over the rapid deterioration of relations between Lebanon and the Gulf countries, the statement said.

He added that the Secretary-General of the Arab League was confident that Lebanese President Michel Aoun and Prime Minister Najib Mikati would take action immediately to de-escalate tensions. In a statement, Lebanese Intelligence Minister George Kordahi, who was appointed Minister in the government that took office in September, described the war raging in Yemen since 2015 between the Shiite rebels Houthi and the Saudi-led Arab coalition as “useless”. He even estimated that “it must stop”.

Kordahi noted that the Houthis, who are supported by Iran, are defending themselves against “a foreign attack” and that their homes, villages, weddings, and funerals are bombarded by the Arab coalition. The interview of Kordahi was recorded, according to him, on August 5, and has been circulating on social media since Tuesday, sparking renewed tensions in Lebanon’s already strained relations with Gulf Arab states.

Also read: Libya Stabilization Initiative | Greece present in Libya once again

Saudi Arabia reacted on Wednesday, stressing that these statements undermine the coalition’s efforts and are not in line with the historical relations between Beirut and Riyadh. In a statement to Lebanese television on Wednesday, Kordahi stressed that his statements were his personal opinion and were made before he was appointed Minister on September 10th. He also assured that he did not attack Saudi Arabia. Yet, he avoided apologizing.

For his part, Lebanese Prime Minister Mikati has found himself in a difficult position, all the more so because his country is looking forward to financial aid from Gulf countries to help its economy recover. On Friday, Saudi Arabia asked the Lebanese ambassador to leave the country within 48 hours and banned all imports from Lebanon. Bahrain imitated this move by Saudi Arabia.

Mikati immediately commented that he deeply regrets the decision of the kingdom and expressed the hope that the Saudi leadership, with its wisdom, would reconsider. The Lebanese Prime Minister reiterated his respect for the Saudi King and the Crown Prince and explicitly rejected anything that could damage the deep, fraternal relations with the kingdom, which has always been on the side of the Lebanese people when they were facing major challenges.

Source: CNA

Also read: Greece – Saudi Arabia | Joint statement on bilateral relations




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