Assistant Secretary General of the Arab League, Hossam Zaki, speaks at the presidential palace in Baabda, Lebanon November 8, 2021.

Arab League Envoy Visits Beirut To Mediate Rift With Riyadh

11/8/2021

A top Arab League envoy was in Beirut on Monday to explore ways to resolve an unprecedented diplomatic rift between Lebanon and Saudi Arabia.

The crisis emerged following comments by Lebanon's information minister, who is close to Iran-backed Hezbollah, criticizing the war in Yemen that a Saudi-led coalition is waging against the Iran-backed Houthi rebels.

Arab League official Hossam Zaki said his visit was "an initiative to put the crisis on the right track."

Zaki, the league's deputy chief, told reporters after meeting Lebanese President Michel Aoun that he was ready to visit Saudi Arabia but that some tangible moves to ease the crisis have to be felt first.

Lebanon has said that Information Minister George Kordahi's remarks about Yemen, aired in late October, do not represent official government views.

Zaki later Monday also met Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati and parliament speaker Nabih Berri.

The spat has threatened to destabilize Mikati's government, formed in September after a 13-month deadlock between rival Lebanese groups.

Mikati has urged Kordahi to "do what needs to be done" — an apparent appeal for him to step down but the minister has so far refused to apologize or resign.

Saudi Arabia has withdrawn its ambassador from Beirut and asked the Lebanese envoy to leave the kingdom.

Report by AP

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