| 23 April 2024, Tuesday |

Wehbe calls Bukhari, apologizes over scathing remarks

Saudi Ambassador to Lebanon Walid Bukhari stressed that Saudi Arabia’s “ethics and pillars” do not permit ill-treatments against anyone living on its soil, and especially the Lebanese people in the Kingdom.

“The rumors we’ve heard do not reflect the Kingdom’s stance; the wise leadership in the Kingdom focuses on preserving the dignity of the Saudi citizen and any resident of the Kingdom,” Bukhari told reporters.

“The Saudi-Lebanese relations link two peoples together; the Saudi and Lebanese peoples are tied by Arabism, blood, brotherhood, Islam and kinship relations. The positions and solidarity we have heard today reflect the true stances of the Lebanese people, regardless of their affiliations.”

Bukhari added that he received a phone call from the Lebanese Minister of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants Charbel Wehbe “whereby he expressed his strong and frank apology for the statements he made during his TV interview, and he told me that he submitted his resignation.”

The Saudi ambassador also underscored the need to “review foreign policies, with a comprehensive political will, towards the Kingdom and GCC countries,” adding that when such policies are genuinely reviewed, “this means that there are positive indicators to restore the confidence of the international community, and especially the Kingdom.”

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.

When asked if by “those countries” he meant Gulf states, Wehbe said he did not want to name names. But on a question about whether Gulf states had funded the Islamist movement he said: “who funded them then, was it me?”