RIYADH: Lebanon’s main problem is Hezbollah’s dominance of its political system, Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister has said.
“The crisis there is not a crisis between us and Lebanon to some extent. There is a crisis in Lebanon with the dominance of Iran's proxies over the scene, and this is what concerns us, and this is what makes it futile to deal with Lebanon,” Prince Faisal bin Farhan said in an interview with Al Arabiya on the sidelines of the G20 summit.
The minister added that Lebanon’s leaders need to “bring Lebanon back to its place in the Arab world,” which he said is “available.”
The minister’s interview comes after comments form Lebanese Information Minister George Kordahi’s on the Yemen war sparked a diplomatic dispute with Gulf countries.
Kordahi said the Iran-aligned Houthis were defending themselves and called the war in Yemen “futile.”
Saudi Arabia responded by recalling its ambassador to Lebanon for consultations and requested the departure of Lebanon's envoy to the Kingdom, giving him 48 hours to leave. The Kingdom also banned Lebanese imports.
Other Gulf countries including the UAE, Bahrain, and Kuwait also withdrew their diplomats and requested Lebanese envoys to to leave.
Regarding Yemen, Prince Faisal said the Kingdom is committed to bringing about a comprehensive ceasefire and then political dialogue, but that the Iran-backed Houthi militia posed a roadblock toward achieving a lasting peace deal.
“The Kingdom is committed to what it has put forward. We want to reach a comprehensive cease-fire immediately and then move on to political dialogue. Unfortunately, the Houthis are still relying on a military solution. The Houthis are still showing or presenting their narrow interests and those of regional parties over Yemen's interest,” the minister said.