Saudi Arabia: No Purpose in Engaging Lebanon at This Point
Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan believes that there is no purpose in communicating with the Lebanese government at this point.
In the midst of a deepening rift between the two countries, the Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan al-Saoud said that “the kingdom does not plan to engage with the Lebanese government at this point."
In an interview for France 24, bin Farhan has also reiterated a call on the Lebanese political class to end "the hegemony of Iran-allied Hezbollah movement," as he put it.
What’s behind the Saudi-made crisis?
A Saudi campaign targeting Lebanese Minister of Information George Kordahi was launched following statements in which he described the war on Yemen on a TV show as “futile” and said that the Yemeni Ansar Allah Movement "has been defending itself in the face of external aggression against Yemen for years."
With his statements widely circulated on social media, Lebanese media outlets claimed, according to what they called "Saudi sources," that Lebanon is facing a severe diplomatic crisis because of Kordahi's statements.
Minister Kordahi explained through a thread of tweets that this TV appearance was on August 5, a month before he was appointed as minister in Prime Minister Najib Mikati's government.
Social media users launched a broad campaign in solidarity with Kordahi and demanded that he remain in his position.
It is noteworthy that Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Kuwait, have summoned their ambassadors to Lebanon for consultations while asking the ambassadors of Lebanon in their countries to leave within 48 hours.
Saudi Arabia also decided to stop all Lebanese imports into the Kingdom.
For his part, a member of the Supreme Political Council in Yemen, Mohammad Ali al-Houthi, called for an emergency meeting and a decision to ban Saudi products from entering Yemen, in response to the crisis surrounding Kordahi's statements.
Last a high-level Arab League delegation visited Beirut headed by Assistant Secretary-General of the Arab League, Hossam Zaki, who demanded the dismissal of Kordahi as a prelude to solving the row with Saudi Arabia.
Sources indicated to Al Mayadeen that Zaki refused to provide guarantees that Riyadh would reverse its steps toward Lebanon if Kordahi resigns. He stressed that Beirut was informed of Saudi hints to start partial deportation of Lebanese citizens from Saudi Arabia if Zaki's mission fails.
Kordahi will not resign
Close sources to the Lebanese Minister of Information, George Kordahi, told Al Mayadeen that Kordahi will not resign, and his stance has not changed.
On his account, Kordahi has lately announced that he did not raise the issue of his resignation during his meeting with Parliament Speaker, Nabih Berri.
He added, “I’m not clinging to any ministerial post, and I am in no position to challenge anyone, neither the Prime Minister nor the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” noting that "there is no intention to provoke anyone, but the matter was blown out of proportion, and some have exploited what happened to pay lip service to Saudi Arabia."