June 28, 2022
Kordahi told the news conference, saying he believed Mikati

Lebanon’s information minister resigns after Saudi Arabia comments

Lebanon’s Information Minister George Kordahi announced on Friday his resignation to pave the way for a possible resolution of a diplomatic spat between Lebanon and Saudi Arabia sparked by comments he made.

Kordahi made the announcement at a press conference in Beirut. He said his resignation aimed to open the door for negotiations by French President Emmanuel Macron to resolve the dispute during a planned visit to Saudi Arabia this weekend.

He added that his decision to resign followed the outcomes of discussions between Prime Minister Najib Mikati and the French president before his trip to the Gulf region.

Kordahi, a Christian whose Marada party is backed by Hezbollah, had refused to resign in the weeks after his comments even as Prime Minister Najib Mikati asked him to put “national interest” first.

“I understood from Mikati … that the French want my resignation to take place ahead of his (Macron’s) visit,” Kordahi told the news conference, saying he believed Mikati had assurances that Macron would discuss Lebanon’s ties with Riyadh.

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Critical comments by Kordahi on the war in Yemen in late October led to expel Lebanon’s envoy to the kingdom, recall its ambassador and ban all imports from Lebanon, dealing a new blow to the country’s ailing economy.

Other Gulf states that are historical allies of Lebanon, including the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait, took similar punitive diplomatic measures.Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister said last month that the kingdom’s decision to cut ties was driven by Iran-backed Hezbollah’s growing grip on Lebanon and that dealing with Lebanon’s Hezbollah-backed government “is not productive and not helpful.”

Hezbollah had backed Kordahi’s decision not to resign, saying that Riyadh had contrived the crisis and Lebanon should not bow to foreign dictates.