Arab League official reports progress in resolving Lebanon-Gulf row

Originally posted to the Reuters website, 8 November 2021

BEIRUT, Nov 8 (Reuters) – Arab League Assistant Secretary General Hossam Zaki said on Monday there was some progress towards resolving the diplomatic crisis between Lebanon and Gulf countries spurred by comments that criticized the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen.

Zaki, who is in Beirut holding meetings about the rift, has so far met President Michel Aoun, Prime Minister Najib Mikati and Foreign Minister Abdalla Bou Habib.

Zaki said he had communicated the Arab League perspective on the crisis to the officials he met.

He earlier said his meeting with Aoun was “candid and positive” and that he had found an entry point to resolving the crisis but added that the problem was wider than the comments made by Lebanon’s information minister George Kordahi.

“The matter is not simple and should not be dealt with lightly,” Zaki said.

Kordahi has said his comments were filmed before he became a minister and has so far resisted calls for him to resign.

Saudi Arabia expelled Lebanon’s envoy, banned all Lebanese imports to the kingdom and recalled its ambassador earlier this month. Bahrain and Kuwait took similar steps while the United Arab Emirates withdrew all its diplomatic staff.

Reporting by Yasmin Hussein and Maha Eldahan in Beirut; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne and Emelia Sithole-Matarise

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