Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati. FILE PHOTO

Lebanon's PM Renews Call For Minister To Resign Over Saudi Rift


Lebanon's prime minister Najib Mikati Thursday repeated his call for information minister Georges Kordahi to step down over a diplomatic rift with Saudi Arabia.

Mikati said the resignation would help resolve a crisis that's destabilized the Lebanese government and made the country's economic plight even worse.

He also had stern words for his partners in government — the militant Hezbollah group and its allies — who have rejected calls that Kordahi resign.

The spat was triggered by Kordahi's remarks aired last week about the war in Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition is battling Iran-backed Houthi rebels.

Riyadh has withdrawn its ambassador from Beirut and asked the Lebanese envoy to leave the kingdom.

It has also banned Lebanese imports, undermining the small nation's foreign trade and depriving it of millions of dollars while it is deep in an economic crisis.

Lebanon had sought French and US mediation with Saudi Arabia.

Mikati's message appears to be directed mostly at his government partners from the Iran-allied Hezbollah.

Kordahi was named to the government by part of the Hezbollah alliance within the government.

He has refused to resign, insisting Yemen's Houthis have the right to defend themselves and saying he did not mean to offend with his comments, recorded before he became minister.

Gulf Arab countries have joined Saudi Arabia in pulling out their diplomats, deepening the diplomatic spat.

Report by AP

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