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Arab League reports progress in healing Lebanon-Gulf rift 

Arab Foreign Ministers 153rd annual meeting at the Arab League headquarters in the Egyptian capital Cairo on March 4, 2020 [MOHAMED EL-SHAHED/AFP via Getty Images]
Arab Foreign Ministers 153rd annual meeting at the Arab League headquarters in the Egyptian capital Cairo on March 4, 2020 [MOHAMED EL-SHAHED/AFP via Getty Images]

There has been some progress towards resolving the diplomatic crisis between Lebanon and Gulf countries spurred by comments that criticised the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, Arab League Assistant Secretary General Hossam Zaki said today, Reuters reports.

Zaki, who is in Beirut holding meetings about the rift, has so far met President Michel Aoun, Prime Minister Najib Mikati and Foreign Minister Abdalla Bou Habib.

Zaki said he had communicated the Arab League perspective on the crisis to the officials he met.

He earlier said his meeting with Aoun was "candid and positive" and that he had found an entry point to resolving the crisis but added that the problem was wider than the comments made by Lebanon's Information Minister George Kordahi.

"The matter is not simple and should not be dealt with lightly," Zaki said.

Footage from August – before Kordahi was appointed minister – aired in October showed the information minister describing the war against Yemen as one of aggression by the Saudi-led coalition, branding the conflict as "futile" and said the Houthis were acting in "self-defence".

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Kordahi has said his comments were filmed before he became a minister and has so far resisted calls for him to resign.

Saudi Arabia expelled Lebanon's envoy, banned all Lebanese imports to the kingdom and recalled its ambassador earlier this month. Bahrain and Kuwait took similar steps while the United Arab Emirates withdrew all its diplomatic staff.

Today, Lebanon President Michel Aoun said that resolving the Lebanon-Saudi rift requires an honest dialogue between the two countries.

Aoun added Beirut welcomes any initiative by the Arab League to restore brotherly relations with the kingdom, and said Lebanon would not hesitate to take any step to allow candid dialogue.

Lebanon's Information Minister, George Kordahi criticised for his comments defending the Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen, saying they were acting in "self-defence"- Cartoon [Sabaaneh/Middle East Monitor]

Lebanon's Information Minister, George Kordahi, is criticised for his comments defending the Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen, saying they were acting in "self-defence"- Cartoon [Sabaaneh/Middle East Monitor]

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Arab LeagueInternational OrganisationsLebanonMiddle EastNewsSaudi ArabiaYemen
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