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Lebanon information minister says will not resign under diplomatic pressure from Riyadh

Lebanon’s Minister of Information George Kordahi speaks during a press conference at the presidential palace in Baabda, east of the capital Beirut, September 13, 2021.

Lebanese Information Minister George Kordahi says his resignation “is out of question,” a report says, days after Saudi Arabia launched a campaign of pressure on Beirut in response to his comments critical of the Saudi-led devastating war on Yemen.

On Sunday, Kordahi, who is now at the center of the new diplomatic crisis between Lebanon and several Persian Gulf Arab monarchies, told the Beirut-based al-Jadeed TV that resigning from the government “is out of the question.”

Back in August, Kordahi, who was not appointed to the post at the time, said during a television program, which was aired last Monday, that the war on Yemen was an act of aggression by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Riyadh’s most significant ally in the military coalition. He called the war “absurd,” saying it must stop because he is opposed to wars between Arabs.

Kordahi also said the Yemeni army forces and their allied fighters from the Popular Committees were “defending themselves ... against an external aggression,” and that “homes, villages, funerals and weddings were being bombed” by the Saudi-led coalition. He also said the war was “futile” and it was “time for it to end.”

Kordahi’s remarks at the program infuriated Riyadh and prompted it on Saturday to order Lebanon’s ambassador to leave the kingdom within 48 hours and banned all imports from the Arab country.

In solidarity with Riyadh, Kuwait and Bahrain followed suit, ordering the Lebanese charge d’affaires to leave within two days and recalling their own envoys from Beirut. The UAE also said Saturday it was withdrawing its diplomats from Lebanon.

On Thursday, the Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah praised the “brave and honorable position of the Minister of Information in defense of the oppressed people of Yemen.”

“We firmly reject any request to remove Kordahi or force him to resign... Such requests are a clear violation of Lebanon’s dignity and sovereignty,” Hezbollah said.

Mohammad Raad, the head of Loyalty to the Resistance Bloc — the political wing of the Hezbollah resistance movement — in the Lebanese parliament, also said on Saturday that the country, which failed in its war on Yemen is now planning to take revenge against Lebanon over its support for the oppressed Yemeni people during the devastating military aggression.

“Today, we are facing a crisis created by one of the regional countries that launched a cruel war against another Arab country and lost it,” Lebanon’s al-Ahed news website quoted him as saying, apparently referring to Saudi Arabia.

“The country that lost the war now intends to avenge its defeat against Lebanon since Lebanon stood by the oppressed nation that has been under invasion for eight years and whose country has been destroyed amid attempts by some parties to make it surrender.”

Saudi Arabia launched the war on its southern neighbor in March 2015 in collaboration with a number of its allies, and with arms and logistics support from the United States and several Western countries. The aim was to return to power a former Riyadh-backed regime and crush the popular Ansarullah movement, which has been running state affairs in the absence of an effective government in Yemen.

The war has killed tens of thousands of Yemenis and turned the entire country into the scene of the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, but it has stopped well shy of all of its goals. Meanwhile, Yemeni forces have gone from strength to strength against the Saudi-led invaders, and left Riyadh and its allies bogged down in the impoverished country.

Yemenis laud Lebanese minister, put his picture on billboards

Yemeni people have lauded the Lebanese information minister for his remarks on Saudi-led war on Yemen, putting up his photo on large billboards in the capital, Sana'a.

"Yes George, the Yemen war is absurd," said posters bearing his image that the Yemeni people pasted onto billboards and lamp posts on Sunday.

The government in Sana'a is also planning to rename a street in the capital city after Kordahi, according to shopkeepers and media reports in the city, AFP reported.

The spokesman for Yemen’s Ansarullah movement displayed photos of the billboards in a post on his official Twitter account.


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