Arab League Urges Against Further Escalation of Lebanese-Gulf Row

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Openly critical remarks made by Lebanese Information Minister George Kordahi targeting the Saudi-led military campaign in Yemen against the Houthi rebels angered Riyadh as well as other countries in the coalition, with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Bahrain all summoning their ambassadors from Beirut.
The League of Arab States (LAS) has urged Gulf countries against taking measures over remarks made by a Lebanese minister regarding the Saudi-led coalition's military actions in Yemen that might further exacerbate ties with Beirut.
In a Saturday statement quoting Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit, the regional multi-national organization appealed to Gulf countries "to reflect on the measures proposed to be taken...in order to avoid further negative effects on the collapsing Lebanese economy", as the latter reels under the impact of a crippling crisis.

"...Aboul Gheit expressed regret over the rapid deterioration in Lebanese-Gulf relations...," the statement added, voicing confidence that Lebanese President Michel Aoun and Prime Minister Najib Mikati would succeed in finding a way to ease the crisis.

The statement comes as critical comments from Lebanese Information Minister George Kordahi about the Saudi-led military campaign in Yemen against the Houthis fueled a growing row between the two Arab states. Kuwait has given Lebanon's charge d'affaires 48 hours to leave the country and recalled its ambassador from Beirut for consultations in protest over the remarks. The decision followed similar moves by Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. Furthermore, an Arab diplomatic source was cited by Sputnik as saying Riyadh was considering breaking off diplomatic relations with Beirut.
The six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which also comprises Qatar and Oman, similarly condemned Kordahi’s remarks. The row erupted after a video surfaced of George Kordahi’s appearance on an Al Jazeera-affiliated youth show.
The August-dated footage shows Kordahi describing the actions of the Saudi-led coalition of Arab states in the war in Yemen, where the group of Sunni states and local militias is fighting an insurgency by the Zaidi Shiite Houthi movement, controlling the capital and most of northern Yemen, as "aggression".
The Information Minister had said that the Houthi militia’s actions were in “self-defence”, they were not the aggressors, while the Saudis' seven-year war effort was "futile" and it was "time for it to end." In his defence, Kordahi later stressed that the comments were made in an interview on 5 August, before his appointment to the ministerial post.
He also insisted he had no intention of offending Riyadh or Abu Dhabi, while Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati emphasised that Kordahi's words did not reflect the official position of Lebanon on Yemen.
Lebanese Foreign Minister Abdallah Bou Habib said on 29 October that he would chair an emergency ministerial meeting on Saturday "to search for opportunities to overcome regrettable differences." Lebanese television reported that Habib had asked Kordahi to "do the right thing" and step down from his post.
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