Lebanon minister rules out resignation amid crisis with Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia, Gulf allies recall ambassadors from Lebanon in protest of information minister’s comments.

Lebanon minister rules out resignation amid crisis with Saudi Arabia

Lebanese Information Minister George Kordahi on Sunday ruled out resignation amid a diplomatic crisis with Saudi Arabia over his criticism of the Saudi-led campaign in Yemen.

Speaking to the Lebanese private Al-Jadeed television, Kordahi said resigning from the government was "out of question."

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Kuwait, and Bahrain recalled their ambassadors from Lebanon in protest of Kordahi's critical comments of the Saudi military campaign in Yemen in a televised interview said to be recorded before he took his post in the new Cabinet headed by Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati.

Asked if he "thinks that the Houthis, like Hezbollah, are defending their land as an armed organization," Kordahi responded: "Of course they are defending themselves ... My personal opinion is that this war in Yemen needs to end. Houses, buildings, villages, and cities are being attacked by fighter jets."

Qatar, meanwhile, said Kordahi's comments were irresponsible and called on the Lebanese government to rebuild bridges with the "brotherly nations."

The Lebanese government, for its part, affirmed that it is keen to maintain good relations with the Gulf states, especially Saudi Arabia.

On Saturday, three former Lebanese prime ministers called on Kordahi to resign to help resolve the diplomatic crisis with the Gulf nations.

Yemen has been engulfed by violence and instability since 2014, when Iran-aligned Houthi rebels captured much of the country, including the capital, Sanaa. A Saudi-led coalition aimed at reinstating the Yemeni government has worsened the situation and caused one of the world’s worst man-made humanitarian crises