Caretaker Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Charbel Wehbe will step down from his duties in the ministry on Wednesday, a source told “Sawt Beirut International”, after the wave of anger that he provoked on his statements on Al Hurra TV channel.
Wehbe’s remarks have drawn nationwide criticism from senior leaders and officials who consider them to be harmful to the country’s already strained ties with regional.
Wehbe made scathing remarks about Gulf countries in an interview late on Monday, blaming them for the spread of Islamic State.
“Those countries of love, friendship and fraternity, they got us Islamic State and planted it in the plains of Nineveh and Anbar and Palmyra,” Wehbe said in an interview with regional network Al Hurra, referring to parts of neighboring Syria and Iraq that Islamic State seized in 2014.
Wehbe said to the guest, “The one who killed Khashoggi in Istanbul don’t have the right to speak in this way,” and added, “I am from Lebanon and have been insulted from Bedouins.” Wehbe behaved in this way because the guest did not mention “His Excellency” before the President of the Republic’s name.
After the wave of anger that he provoked, Wehbe affirmed that “some of the inappropriate expressions that I said amid an emotional status because of the unacceptable abuse directed at His Excellency the President of the Republic, are of the type that I do not hesitate to apologize for”.
He added in a statement: “Also, there was no intention , neither yesterday, nor before nor after, to offend any of the brotherly Arab countries or peoples, where I lost no efforts to improve and develop relations with them for the common good and interest and always on the basis of mutual respect. Everyone makes mistakes in this wild forest.”
The Saudi Foreign Ministry condemned Wehbe’s insulting statements to the Kingdom and the Gulf states.
It announced that the Lebanese ambassador to the Kingdom was summoned to denounce the foreign minister’s abuse, and handed him an official protest memorandum regarding the offensive statements, considering it an insult to the Kingdom and its people.