Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have summoned Lebanon’s envoys in response to the minister’s remarks about the Yemen war.
On Wednesday, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates summoned Lebanon’s ambassadors in response to Information Minister George Kordahi’s criticism of the Riyadh-led military coalition fighting Yemeni rebels.
During a Monday interview, Kordahi stated that the Iran-backed Huthi rebels are “defending themselves… against an external aggression,” adding that the coalition is bombing “homes, communities, funerals, and weddings.”
He also labeled Yemen’s seven-year war “futile” and said it was “beyond time for it to cease.”
Thousands of people have killed, the majority of them civilians, and millions have been displaced in what the UN has dubbed the world’s biggest humanitarian disaster.
In a statement, Saudi Arabia’s foreign ministry claimed it delivered a message to the ambassador denouncing Kordahi’s “offensive” remarks.
It also expressed remorse for the “insulting” words, which it described as “obviously prejudiced towards the terrorist Huthi group that threatens the region’s security and stability.”
Shortly after, the United Arab Emirates, a coalition member, denounced Kordahi’s remarks and claimed it had summoned the Lebanese ambassador as well.
The coalition’s member countries were angered by Kordahi’s “disgraceful and unfair” remarks, according to a statement issued by the official WAM news agency.
Kordahi’s views were “rejected and did not reflect the position of the administration,” the Lebanese government said on Tuesday, adding that the interview took place before Kordahi was appointed to the cabinet in September.
On Wednesday, Kordahi, a well-known television host, informed local media that the interview in question took place on August 5 and that it was his “personal viewpoint.”
“I didn’t do anything wrong. No one was attacked by me. I don’t see why I should apologize “he stated “As a human who feels Arab pain, I voiced my opinion with love.” Civilians were killed in the coalition’s aerial bombardment, according to rights groups.
The civil war in Yemen began in 2014, when the Huthis took control of the capital, Sanaa, forcing Saudi-led forces to invade the following year to back up the government.