Kuwait expels Lebanon envoy, recalls own ambassador: State media

AFP , Saturday 30 Oct 2021

Kuwait has recalled its ambassador from Beirut and has given the Lebanese envoy 48 hours to leave the emirate, the foreign ministry said Saturday, quoted by state news agency KUNA.

GCC and Lebanon crisis
This combination of pictures created on October 30, 2021, shows the Kuwaiti national flag in Kuwait City on 25, 2021, a Bahraini national flag in the capital Manama on January 26, 2014, a Lebanese national flag in the capital Beirut on October 14, 2021, and a Saudi national flag in the capital Riyadh on September 22, 2020. AFP

"Kuwait recalls Amb. in Beirut, asks Lebanese envoy to leave country in 48 hours," the ministry said in a brief statement carried by KUNA.

Saudi Arabia and Bahrain made similar moves on Friday after Lebanon's Information Minister George Kordahi criticised the war in Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition backs the internationally recognised government.

Kordahi said in a television interview that Yemen's Iran-backed Huthi rebels were "defending themselves... against an external aggression", adding that "homes, villages, funerals and weddings were being bombed" by the coalition.

In the interview -- filmed in August but aired on Monday -- he also called the seven-year war in Yemen "futile" and said it was "time for it to end".

Kuwait's foreign ministry said the expulsion and recall was based on the "failure" of the Lebanese government to "address the unacceptable and reprehensible statements against the sisterly Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the rest" of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries.

The GCC is a six-member regional body that includes Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Oman and Qatar.

Kuwait's decision was also based on "the failure of the Government of the Lebanese Republic to take the necessary measures to deter the continuous and increasing smuggling operations of the scourge of drugs to Kuwait and the rest of the GCC," the ministry added.

The comments on smuggling also echo Riyadh's line, which extended to Saudi Arabia on Friday imposing a suspension on all imports from Lebanon.

The United Arab Emirates meanwhile has summoned Lebanon's ambassador over Kordahi's comments.

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