Kuwait expels Lebanon envoy, recalls own ambassador

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A Lebanese vendor arranges newspapers, bearing headlines of the diplomatic row with Saudi Arabia, at his stall in the capital Beirut on Saturday ANWAR AMRO AFP
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  • Saudi Arabia and Bahrain made similar moves on Friday after Lebanon's Information Minister George Kordahi criticized the war in Yemen
  • Kordahi said in a television interview that Yemen's Iran-backed Huthi rebels were "defending themselves... against an external aggression"

Kuwait has recalled its ambassador from Beirut and has given the Lebanese envoy 48 hours to leave the emirate, the foreign ministry said Saturday, quoted by state news agency KUNA.

“Kuwait recalls Amb. in Beirut, asks Lebanese envoy to leave country in 48 hours,” the ministry said in a brief statement carried by KUNA.

Saudi Arabia and Bahrain made similar moves on Friday after Lebanon’s Information Minister George Kordahi criticized the war in Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition backs the internationally recognized government.

Kordahi said in a television interview that Yemen’s Iran-backed Huthi rebels were “defending themselves… against an external aggression”, adding that “homes, villages, funerals and weddings were being bombed” by the coalition.

In the interview — filmed in August but aired on Monday — he also called the seven-year war in Yemen “futile” and said it was “time for it to end”.

Kuwait’s foreign ministry said the expulsion and recall was based on the “failure” of the Lebanese government to “address the unacceptable and reprehensible statements against the sisterly Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the rest” of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries.

The GCC is a six-member regional body that includes Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Oman and Qatar.

Kuwait’s decision was also based on “the failure of the Government of the Lebanese Republic to take the necessary measures to deter the continuous and increasing smuggling operations of the scourge of drugs to Kuwait and the rest of the GCC,” the ministry added.

The comments on smuggling also echo Riyadh’s line, which extended to Saudi Arabia on Friday imposing a suspension on all imports from Lebanon.

The United Arab Emirates meanwhile has summoned Lebanon’s ambassador over Kordahi’s comments.

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