UAE’s foreign ministry summoned Lebanon’s ambassador and handed him a letter of protest over comments made by Lebanese Information Minister George Kordahi about Saudi Arabia and the UAE’s involvement in the Yemen war, state news agency WAM reported on Wednesday.
The ministry described Kordahi’s statements as “disgraceful and biased” and said they insulted the countries of the Coalition to support legitimacy in Yemen.
“[The Statements] contradict diplomatic norms and the history of Lebanon’s relations with the countries of the Arab Coalition to support legitimacy in Yemen. They also reflect Lebanon’s growing distance from its Arab brothers,” the ministry added.
Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Bahrain also summoned their Lebanese envoys in protest over Kordahi’s comments.
Kordahi had said that Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthis were defending themselves and described the war in Yemen as “futile”.
The minister said on Wednesday his remarks were his personal views, made before he was appointed a minister and that he was committed to government policy. “I am against Arab-Arab wars… accusing me of hostility towards Saudi Arabia is rejected.”
Lebanon’s Prime Minister Najib Mikati, trying to avert diplomatic fallout, said that Kordahi made those comments in an interview that was recorded more than a month before he became a member of cabinet and that his statements reflected his personal opinion and had nothing to do with government’s policy.
The Gulf Cooperation Council’s secretary general Nayef Falah Mubarak al-Hajraf slammed Kordahi’s statements saying they reflected little understanding and a superficial grasp of the events in Yemen.