The Lebanese Minister of Information, George Kordahi, announced, on Tuesday evening, that he did not intend to offend Saudi Arabia or the UAE, considering that his talk about the need to stop the “futile and harmful” war in Yemen reflects “love” for Riyadh and Abu Dhabi.
Since the morning, talk has escalated about a new crisis between Saudi Arabia and Lebanon, following the spread of an interview with Kordahi, on the “Parliament of the People” program (produced by Al Jazeera) broadcast on Monday, during which he considered that the Houthis in Yemen are defending themselves against what he said are “the attacks of Saudi Arabia and the UAE.” “.
وقد ركزت هذه الوسائل الاعلامية على ما قلته بشأن الحوثيين ودفاعهم عن انفسهم في وجه العدوان الخارجي ، لذلك اود ان أوضح ما يلي :
أولًا ، هذه المقابلة أجريت في الخامس من شهر آب أغسطس الماضي .. أي قبل شهر من تعييني وزيراً في حكومة الرئيس ميقاتي ..
— George Kordahi (@GKordahi) October 26, 2021
George Kordahi said, through his account on Twitter: “Since this morning, some Lebanese and Arab media, and some websites have been circulating an excerpt from an interview I gave to Al-Jazeera Online, on the “Youth Parliament” program, in which I spoke about the Yemen war.
And he considered that “the parties behind this campaign have become known, and they are accusing me, since the formation of the government (on September 20 last), that I am coming to suppress the media.”
He explained, “This interview was conducted on August 5, a month before I was appointed as a minister in Prime Minister Najib Mikati’s government.”
And Qardahi continued, “I did not mean, in any way, to offend the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia or the Emirates, whose leadership and people I have so much love and loyalty to.”
And he added, “What I said that the war in Yemen has become an absurd war that must stop, I said it with conviction, not in defense of Yemen, but also out of love for Saudi Arabia and the UAE and disregard for their interests.”
And he added, “May my words, and the uproar around him, be a reason to stop this harmful war for Yemen and for both Saudi Arabia and the UAE.”
Since March 2015, a coalition led by the Saudi neighbor has been carrying out military operations in Yemen, in support of government forces, in the face of the Iranian-backed Houthis, who have controlled governorates, including the capital, Sanaa (north), since September 2014.
Earlier on Tuesday, Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati said in a statement that “and the government is keen to weave the best relations with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” while condemning “any interference in its internal affairs by any party or party.”
He added that Qardahi’s talk “is part of an interview I conducted with him several weeks before he assumed his ministerial position, which is unacceptable and does not express the government’s position at all, especially with regard to the Yemeni issue and Lebanon’s relations with its Arab brothers, specifically the brothers in Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf Cooperation Council countries.”
As soon as the interview spread, Lebanese media said that a new diplomatic crisis loomed between Lebanon and Saudi Arabia.
MTV quoted unnamed Saudi sources as saying: “We are facing a severe diplomatic crisis because of Qardahi’s statements.”
While there was no comment from the Saudi ambassador to Beirut, Walid Bukhari, he contented himself on his Twitter account with re-publishing news about a new diplomatic crisis with Lebanon.
Historically, distinguished relations prevailed between Riyadh and Beirut, but they have become tense from time to time.
Last May, the Lebanese Foreign Minister at the time, Charbel Wehbe, asked to be relieved of his duties, following statements that some considered offensive to Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states.
In 2017, Saudi Arabia accused the Lebanese “Hezbollah” group, an ally of Iran, of controlling the political and security decision in Lebanon, as well as of interfering in the war in Yemen, by supporting groups working against the kingdom.