Saudi Arabia and Bahrain have instructed Lebanese ambassadors to leave their capitals within 48 hours amid criticism about Saudi Arabia regarding the Yemeni war, Anadolu Agency reported on Saturday.
Bahrain’s Foreign Ministry confirmed that Lebanese Ambassador Milad Hanna Nemmour was asked to leave because of unacceptable and negative attitudes and statements made.
This came after Saudi Arabia recalled its ambassador to Lebanon for consultations and asked the Lebanese ambassador to leave the kingdom within 48 hours on Friday.
According to news agencies, this came following remarks made by Lebanese Information Minister George Kordahi, in which he criticised the Saudi-led war against armed Houthi rebels.
Kordahi’s comments were made in a televised interview said to be recorded before he took his post in the new cabinet headed by Najib Mikati, Anadolu Agency reported.
Asked if he “thinks that the Houthis, like Hezbollah, are defending their land as an armed organisation,” Kordahi responded: “Of course they are defending themselves. My personal opinion is that this war in Yemen needs to end. Houses, buildings, villages and cities are being attacked by fighter jets.”In a statement, the Saudi Foreign Ministry said that Hezbollah damaged Riyadh-Beirut relations and that the “terrorist” group influences the decisions of the Lebanese state.
Kordahi has refused to apologise for the comments and asserted on Wednesday that he would not apologise for his personal opinion.
To avert the crisis, Lebanese Prime Minister Mikati confirmed that Kordahi made the comment before assuming his post, and it does not reflect the government’s position.
He added that the remarks do not demonstrate Lebanon’s policy towards Arab countries, especially Saudi Arabia.
Yemen has been engulfed by violence and instability since 2014, when Iran-aligned Houthi rebels captured much of the country, including the capital, Sanaa.
A Saudi-led coalition aimed at reinstating the Yemeni government has worsened the situation and caused one of the world’s worst man-made humanitarian crises.