UPDATE: Saudi Arabia, Bahrain expel Lebanese ambassadors
The shocking move by Riyadh and Manama comes in response to comments made by a Lebanese official regarding the war in Yemen
By News Desk - October 29 2021

Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Ministry building.

Update: Mere hours after Saudi Arabia informed the Lebanese ambassador he had to leave the country, Bahrain has followed suit and announced they are also cutting diplomatic ties with Lebanon.

The Lebanese ambassador to Bahrain has been given 48 hours to leave the country, as Beirut continues to face the backlash of criticism lobbied against the war in Yemen by Information Minister George Kordahi.

Original article as follows:

In an unprecedented move, Saudi Arabia has given the Lebanese ambassador 48 hours to leave Riyadh and also ordered an immediate halt to all Lebanese imports.

The Kingdom’s foreign ministry issued a statement on 29 October announcing the move, which came in response to comments made by Lebanon’s Information Minister earlier this year in which he called the Saudi-led war in Yemen “futile.”

Riyadh claims that the explanation given by Beirut in response to the controversy was not satisfactory, and therefore has given a 48-hour notice to the Lebanese envoy to Riyadh to leave the capital.

“These statements represent a new episode of reprehensible and rejected positions issued by Lebanese officials towards the Kingdom and its policies,” the statement by the Saudi foreign ministry reads.

In response to the news, Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati issued a statement in which he said he regrets Riyadh’s decision and hopes the Kingdom’s leadership “with its wisdom will reconsider it.”

“We have always expressed our rejection of any mistreatment of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and we have called for correcting the flaws in the relations between the two brotherly countries,” Mikati added in his statement.

The unexpected move comes on the heels of a meeting between far-right leader Samir Geagea and the Saudi ambassador to Beirut on 29 October in Maarab.

Lebanese media has also reported that former Lebanese Information Minister Melhem Riyachi was present at the meeting which lasted for over 90 minutes.

On 27 October, the Lebanese ambassadors to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the UAE were summoned by the respective governments after Lebanese Information Minister George Kordahi said in an interview that fighters allied with Yemen’s Ansarallah movement are “merely defending themselves against an external aggression.”

Kordahi went on to say that “homes, villages, funerals, and weddings were being bombed” by the Saudi-led coalition, adding that the seven-year war in Yemen has been “futile” and that “it is time for it to end.”

The Saudi Foreign Ministry described the comments by the Lebanese official as insults to the Kingdom and other countries of the coalition, adding that the statement is biased towards the Ansarallah movement.

For his part, Kordahi has said his remarks were his own personal views and were made well before his appointment as minister, adding that he was committed to his government’s policy.

“I am against Arab-Arab wars…I reject the accusation of hostility towards Saudi Arabia,” Kordahi told media.

Kordahi’s comments were made on 5 August during an interview on an online show affiliated with Qatar’s Al Jazeera network, almost a month before he was named information minister.

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