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Kuwait boots Lebanese envoy over Yemen row

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Step follows Riyadh, Bahrain, UAE

KUWAIT CITY, Oct 30, (Agencies): The Kuwaiti Foreign Ministry following Saudi Arabia and Bahrain decided Saturday to recall its ambassador in Lebanon for consultation and asked Lebanon’s charge d’affaires in Kuwait to leave the country within 48 hours. The ministry said in a statement the deicion came due to Lebanon’s insistence on making negative statements and reluctance to handle unacceptable and condemnable positions against Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member countries, not to mention the Lebanese government’s failure to take action to halt continued and growing smuggling of narcotics into Kuwait and other GCC countries.

The ministry voiced regret at the current situation, but emphasized its keenness on Lebanese residents in Kuwait. It added that the new statement followed earlier statements it had issued on April 24, October 14 and October 27, 2021, and is based on historical ties, deep-rooted bonds and the same destiny between Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

The moves came as the Arab League chief expressed concerns about the deterioration of ties between Lebanon and wealthy Gulf countries over statements made by Information Minister George Kordahi. Lebanon’s Foreign Minister Abdallah Bouhabib said Prime Minister Najib Mikati is in contact with foreign officials who asked him not to think about resigning. The minister added that he is in contact with the Americans to help solve the crisis. Kordahi has described during a TV program in August the war in Yemen as an aggression by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. He added that the war in Yemen is “absurd” and must stop because he is opposed to wars between Arabs. Yemen has been convulsed by civil war since 2014, when the Iran-backed Houthi rebels captured the capital, Sanaa, and much of the north of the country.

That forced the internationally recognized government to flee to the south, then to Saudi Arabia. A Saudi-led coalition entered the war in March 2015, backed by the United States, to try to restore the government to power. Despite a relentless air campaign and ground fighting, the war has deteriorated largely into a stalemate and spawned the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. In Beirut, several government officials met Saturday to discuss the crisis that is likely to have major repercussions on Lebanon, which is experiencing the worst economic and financial crisis in its modern history.

The meeting was briefly attended by the U.S. embassy’s Deputy Chief of Mission Richard Michaels at the foreign ministry in Beirut, according to Bouhabib. “They can help in solving these problems,” Bouhabib said about the United States. Besides evicting Lebanon’s ambassador and recalling its envoy to Beirut, Saudi Arabia also banned all imports from Lebanon, a major blow for the crisis-hit small country as Saudi Arabia has for decades been a huge market for Lebanese products. Bouhabib canceled his visit to Glasgow, Scotland, where he was supposed to attend a U.N. climate summit, to deal with the crisis with the oil-rich Gulf nations. He said Mikati will go to Glasgow where he will discuss the crisis with foreign dignitaries. The UAE announced, Saturday, the withdrawal of its diplomats from Lebanon and advised its citizens not to travel to that Arab country. The decision of withdrawing the diplomats from Lebanon came in solidarity with Saudi Arabia, in light of the unacceptable approach of some Lebanese officials towards the Kingdom, UAE Minister of State Khalifa Al-Marar said in a statement carried by UAE’s News Agency (WAM). The country has decided to prevent its citizens from traveling to Lebanon, he noted.

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