Saudi Arabia bans all imports from Lebanon, expels ambassador

The strikes come days after footage emerged of Lebanon’s data minister criticising the Saudi-led warfare in Yemen.

Beirut, Lebanon – Saudi Arabia has banned all imports from Lebanon and given the Lebanese ambassador 48 hours to go away the dominion after footage emerged earlier this week of a minister criticising the Saudi Arabia-led coalition’s warfare in Yemen, state information company SPA reported.

Saudi Arabia additionally banned its residents from travelling to Lebanon and recalled its ambassador.

“The Kingdom’s government regrets the outcomes of the relations with the Lebanese Republic due to the Lebanese authorities ignoring facts, and their continued failure to take corrective measures,” the assertion carried by SPA on Friday learn.

Ties between Lebanon and Saudi Arabia have been already strained, however they soured additional on Tuesday after footage started circulating on-line of Information Minister George Kordahi making crucial remarks concerning the Saudi-led warfare towards Houthi rebels in Yemen. He mentioned the televised interview was recorded greater than a month earlier than he was appointed minister.

Kordahi mentioned the Iran-aligned Houthis are “defending themselves … against an external aggression”.

The former celeb TV presenter additionally mentioned the long-running warfare was “futile” and known as for it to finish, which offended the Saudi Arabia-led coalition forces.

The recreation present host-turned-minister mentioned his feedback have been a private opinion and have been made earlier than he joined the federal government, however mentioned he refuses to be blackmailed by any entity.

In an announcement on Friday night, Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati mentioned he “regretted” the Saudi strikes.

“We also appeal brotherly Arab leaders to work and help to overcome this crisis in order to preserve Arab cohesion,” Mikati mentioned.

Earlier this week, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Bahrain summoned their ambassadors to Lebanon in response to the feedback, whereas the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) – additionally comprising Qatar and Oman – condemned Kordahi’s remarks.

There have been some calls from pro-Saudi leaders for Kordahi to be faraway from the federal government.

The Lebanese authorities, together with Prime Minister Mikati and President Michel Aoun, dismissed Kordahi’s feedback and mentioned they don’t replicate the Lebanese authorities’s place.

“It is true that we disassociate from conflicts, but we don’t disassociate ourselves from any position that is in solidarity with Saudi Arabia or the Gulf countries,” Mikati mentioned in a press assertion earlier this week.

Saudi Arabia accused Iran-backed Hezbollah of influencing what they mentioned was Lebanon’s insufficient response to Kordahi’s remarks. Hezbollah, which Saudi Arabia considers a terrorist organisation, backs the Houthis in Yemen and it has praised Kordahi for his remarks.

“[Hezbollah] made Lebanon an arena and a launching pad for implementing projects of countries that do not wish well for Lebanon and its brotherly people,” the Saudi assertion learn.

The Lebanese data minister’s remarks have been the most recent in a collection of controversies between Lebanon and Saudi Arabia over the previous 12 months.

Saudi Arabia designated Hezbollah’s monetary establishment Al-Qard Al-Hassan as a “terrorist entity” on Wednesday, and has imposed an indefinite ban on Lebanese produce and agricultural merchandise since April after foiling an try to smuggle greater than 5 million unlawful amphetamine Captagon capsules hidden in a cargo of pomegranates inside Jeddah Port.

Saudi Arabia’s assertion on Friday additionally mentioned Lebanon has didn’t “take the measures demanded by the Kingdom to stop the export of the scourge of drugs from Lebanese exports to the Kingdom”.

In May, Lebanon’s then-caretaker Foreign Minister Charbel Wehbe resigned after insinuating that Gulf international locations have been behind the rise of ISIL (ISIS) in a heated argument with Saudi lobbyist Salman al-Ansari on Alhurra TV.