: Lebanese Minister Resigns in Bid to Ease Crisis with Saudis #WorldNEWS Lebanon’s information minister announce his resignation Friday, in a bid to ease an unprecedented diplomatic crisis with
Lebanese Minister Resigns in Bid to Ease Crisis with Saudis #WorldNEWS
Lebanon’s information minister announce his resignation Friday, in a bid to ease an unprecedented diplomatic crisis with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries.
Minister George Kordahi made the announcement at a press conference in Beirut, weeks after televised comments he made that were critical of Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen sparked the crisis.
In response, Saudi Arabia recalled its ambassador and banned all Lebanese imports, affecting hundreds of businesses and cutting off hundreds of millions in foreign currency to Lebanon, which is already facing a major economic meltdown. Kordahi had refused to resign over the comments made before he assumed his Cabinet post, prolonging the crisis.
Kordahi, in the televised interview, had said the war in Yemen was futile and called it an aggression by the Saudi-led coalition.
Yemen’s war began with the 2014 takeover of Sanaa by the Houthi rebels, who control much of the country’s north. The Saudi-led coalition entered the war the following year, determined to restore the internationally recognized government and oust the rebels.
On Friday, Kordahi said he was resigning even though he was unconvinced, adding that “Lebanon does not deserve this treatment” from Saudi Arabia. But he said he had decided to step down “based on new developments” and because he refused to be “the reason for harming Lebanon and Lebanese in the Gulf and other places. ”
Lebanon is sinking deeper into an economic crisis, the worst in its modern history. The country’s financial meltdown, coupled with multiple other crises, has plunged more than three quarters of the nation’s population of 6 million, including a million Syrian refugees, into poverty.
The standoff has paralyzed the government, which has been unable to convene since Oct. 12 amid reports that ministers allied with Hezbollah would resign if Kordahi goes.
The government is also embroiled in another crisis triggered when Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah group protested the course of the state’s investigation into the Beirut port explosion last year.
Hezbollah has criticized Tarek Bitar, the judge leading the investigation, saying his probe was politicized, and called on the government to ensure he is removed. Local media reported there were mediations to trade Bitar’s removal from the probe with Kordahi’s resignation.
The Saudi measures have caused anxiety particularly among the many Lebanese who work in Gulf countries, and added to the country’s economic woes. It is not clear whether Kordahi’s resignation Friday would placate Saudi Arabia enough to reverse its decisions and prevent further escalation, or whether it would open the door for Cabinet meetings to resume.
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