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Saudi Arabia expels Lebanese ambassador, cuts imports over Yemen war comments

Riyadh fumes after video surfaces of minister linked to Hezbollah referring to conflict as Saudi and UAE ‘aggression’

In this Tuesday Jan. 10, 2017 photo released by Saudi Press Agency, SPA, President Michel Aoun of Lebanon, talks during an official reception in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (Saudi Press Agency via AP)
In this Tuesday Jan. 10, 2017 photo released by Saudi Press Agency, SPA, President Michel Aoun of Lebanon, talks during an official reception in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (Saudi Press Agency via AP)

BEIRUT, Lebanon — Saudi Arabia on Friday ordered the Lebanese ambassador to the kingdom to leave the country within 48 hours and stopped all imports from Lebanon, a response to comments by a Lebanese minister who described the war in Yemen as a Saudi “aggression.”

Saudi state media added that the kingdom’s ambassador to Beirut was also asked to head back home.

The move came days after a video circulated on social media in which Lebanon’s Information Minister George Kordahi described the war in Yemen as an aggression by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Kordahi made the comments on a TV program before he was chosen for the post in September.

He is close to the Christian Marada Movement, a close ally of the Hezbollah terror group.

Saudi Arabia lists the powerful Iran-backed Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. A Saudi-led coalition has been battling Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen since 2015, a year after the country descended into civil war.

Yemeni security forces and rescue teams gather around the skeleton of a burnt car following an explosion that hit Yemen’s southern port city of Aden, on October 10, 2021. (Saleh Al-OBEIDI / AFP)

The war has deteriorated largely into a stalemate and spawned the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

Relations between Riyadh and Beirut have been tense in recent months over what the kingdom says is Hezbollah’s control of Lebanon.

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