Saudi-Lebanon diplomatic crisis worsens Envoy expelled, imports banned

32
Beirut

Saudi Arabia ordered the Lebanese ambassador to the kingdom to leave within 48 hours yesterday and banned all Lebanese imports in response to critical comments made by a Lebanese minister about the Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen.

The diplomatic rupture throws Lebanon’s cabinet into further crisis as it tries to rally Arab support for its ailing economy.

Saudi Arabia also recalled its ambassador to Lebanon for consultations, the Saudi state news agency SPA reported.

Riyadh’s decision comes days after an interview with Information Minister George Kordahi was aired by an online show affiliated with Qatar’s al Jazeera network.

Kordahi, in comments made on Aug. 5, called the war futile, said Yemen was subjected to an aggression and that its Iran-aligned Houthis were defending themselves.

The dispute is the latest challenge to Prime Minister Najib Mikati’s cabinet which is already in political paralysis over a row around the Beirut port blast probe. The rift risks widening to more Gulf states with Bahrain also asking Lebanon’s ambassador to leave shortly after the Saudi decision.

Mikati, in a phone call with Kordahi on Friday evening, asked him to put the national interest first and “take the right decision to fix Arab relations with Lebanon,” a statement by his office said.

Sources with knowledge of the matter had told Reuters the Saudi escalation was piling pressure on Kordahi to resign in order to avert further consequences. Mikati earlier reiterated his government’s commitment to good relations with Saudi Arabia and called for Arab partners.

Previous articleJan elected Balochistan Assembly Speaker
Next article40m people fully vaccinated against Covid-19: Asad