New Saudi ambassador to Lebanon formally takes charge

Saudi Ambassador to Lebanon Walid Al-Yaacoub presents his credentials to Lebanese President Michel Aoun in Beirut on Wednesday. (AN photo)
Updated 03 January 2018

New Saudi ambassador to Lebanon formally takes charge

BEIRUT: Saudi Ambassador to Lebanon Walid Al-Yaacoub presented his credentials to Lebanese President Michel Aoun on Wednesday.
The ceremony took place less than two weeks after the Lebanese Foreign Ministry informed the relevant authorities in the Kingdom of their decision to approve the designation of Fawzi Kabbara as Lebanese ambassador to Saudi Arabia.
Future Movement MP Ammar Houri told Arab News that this step “is clear proof that Lebanese-Saudi relations are solid and the two sides insist on maintaining the best relations.”
He also said that the Kingdom’s commitment to a permanent ambassador with full powers in Beirut “amid the current conditions in the region is a positive step in promoting relations with Lebanon.”
On arrival of Ambassador Al-Yaacoub at the Presidential Palace, the requisite ceremonies were held and the Saudi flag was raised alongside the Lebanese flag. Al-Yaacoub was one of five ambassadors who presented their credentials to President Aoun.
The Lebanese president’s press office said that the ambassadors who presented their credentials have assured Aoun that “they are working to promote relations between Lebanon and their countries” and stressed “Lebanon’s concern to promote bilateral relations in different fields.”
The new Saudi ambassador was born in Hail in 1975 and received a bachelor’s degree in political science from King Saud University in Riyadh. He then joined the Foreign Ministry and received a higher education diploma from the ministry’s Institute of Diplomatic Studies. He later joined the diplomatic service and became an adviser. He worked in the Saudi Embassy in Beirut between 2010 and 2014 and in the Saudi Embassy in Paris between 2014 and 2017. He has also worked with the minister of state for Arab Gulf affairs and was responsible for the Lebanese desk.
The Saudi diplomat paid a visit to Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri and said afterward that the visit was “according to protocol.” He added: “Things are good. Think positive and you will get positive.”
He also made a protocol visit to Prime Minister Saad Hariri.
Al-Yaacoub on Tuesday presented his credentials to Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil.
In late August 2016, the adviser Walid Al-Bukhari was appointed charge d’affaires at the Saudi Embassy in Beirut, after the retirement of Ali bin Saeed Al-Awwad Al-Asiri. Since then, no new ambassador had been appointed until the beginning of February 2017 when Al-Yaacoub was appointed. He had not, however, presented his credentials to the Lebanese government. At the end of 2017, the Kingdom sent the Lebanese Foreign Ministry an official letter announcing its approval of Kabbara as Lebanese ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

With Hodeidah airport liberated, Saudi Arabia-led coalition accuses Houthis of targeting civilians

Updated 21 June 2018

With Hodeidah airport liberated, Saudi Arabia-led coalition accuses Houthis of targeting civilians

  • UAE commander confirms Hodeidah airport in Yemen is liberated
  • Houthis have been accused of breaking international law by targeting civilians

JEDDAH: Fighting spread to civilian areas of Hodeidah on Wednesday as coalition forces drove toward the port area after driving the last Iran-backed Houthi militias out of the city’s airport. 

Coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki said they had fully recaptured the airport and were now destroying nearby Houthi fortifications. He accused the group of placing tanks inside residential areas.

“Hodeidah port is operating as normal and the movement of ships is normal,” Al-Maliki said. “We have humanitarian and development plans for when we liberate the city.”

Many civilians are now fleeing the city. “The streets are almost empty, deserted,” one said, with most heading for Sanaa, Raymah and Wusab, in Houthi-controlled areas inland.

A Coalition commander also confirmed the liberation of Hodeida airport in a video posted by UAE state news agency WAM.

“The airport was completely cleared, Thank God, and is under control,” the coalition commander for the Red Sea coast, Abdul Salaam Al-Shehi said speaking in Arabic in the video posted on Twitter.



Though the coalition has pledged to try to avoid battles in crowded urban neighborhoods, the Houthis were well dug into Hodeidah to protect the key supply line to the core northern territory they control, including the capital, Sanaa.

Most humanitarian aid to Yemen comes through Hodeidah port, but it is also a conduit for the supply of weapons and ammunition from Iran to the Houthi militias, including missiles used to target Saudi Arabia. 

The UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Anwar Gargash, said the “liberation of Hodeidah is the beginning to ending the war."

“The choice in Yemen is between the state and militia, between order and violence, between peace and war,” he said.

At least 156 Houthis and 28 soldiers were killed in the fight for the airport, according to Hodeidah hospital sources. That raised the death toll in the week-old battle for the city to 348. No civilian casualties have yet been confirmed.

On June 13, Yemen’s army and its coalition allies launched their offensive to clear Hodeidah of rebel fighters who have held it since 2014. The airport is disused but housed a major Houthi base just inland from the coastal road into the city from the south.

UN envoy Martin Griffiths held four days of talks in the rebel-held capital Sanaa in a bid to avert an all-out battle for the city but flew out on Tuesday without announcing any breakthrough.