Lebanese Information Minister George Kordahi’s remarks about the conflict in Yemen have sparked widespread condemnation in the Gulf region because they are offensive to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Bahrain all summoned their envoys in Beirut to file formal complaints over the statements Kordahi made before took office.
The UAE foreign ministry said it informed the ambassador of its protest and denunciation of Kordahi’s statements, saying they “reflect Lebanon’s growing distance from its Arab brotherly countries.”
Bahrain’s foreign ministry said in its complaint that “crimes by the terrorist Houthi group against the Yemeni republic and its people and its continued aggression against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia ... refute these irresponsible remarks that went against diplomatic norms”.
Kuwait’s foreign ministry said it strongly condemns Kordahi’s statements against Saudi Arabia and the UAE and the “baseless accusations against them that stand in contrast to their major and appreciated role in supporting Yemen and its people.”
Kordahi’s comments go against the Lebanese government’s formal position, do not reflect the reality on the ground and violate the most basic norms in relations between countries.
Lebanon’s Prime Minister Najib Mikati said late on Tuesday Kordahi’s statements did not reflect the government’s position.
“Lebanon is keen on having the best relations with Saudi Arabia and condemns any interference in its internal affairs,” Mikati said.
On Wednesday, Kordahi said that his comments about the Yemen war were made in a personal capacity before he joined Mikati’s cabinet.
Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Secretary-General Dr. Nayef al-Hajraf strongly condemned Kordahi’s remarks, saying they “reflect little understanding and a superficial reading of the events in Yemen.”