Saudi Arabia strongly denounces Lebanon foreign minister’s derogatory statements


RIYADH, May 18 (INP): Saudi Arabia has strongly condemned and denounced derogatory statements made by the caretaker Lebanese Foreign Minister, Charbel Wehbe, during a TV interview on Monday regarding the Kingdom and its citizens.

According to Saudi Gazette’s report that in a statement on Tuesday carried by the Saudi Press Agency, the Saudi foreign ministry said the disgraceful remarks were also directed against Gulf Cooperation Council member states apart from Saudi Arabia and its people.

The foreign ministry said that these statements are inconsistent with the simplest diplomatic norms and are inconsistent with the historical relations between the two countries.

Given the fallout that the derogatory statements may have on bilateral relations, the ministry summoned the Lebanese ambassador to the Kingdom to express the Kingdom’s rejection and denunciation of the remarks made by the Lebanese foreign minister.

The Lebanese ambassador was handed over a demarche in this regard.

Earlier in the day, Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun said on Tuesday the foreign minister’s comments about Gulf countries did not reflect official policy, adding that his country is keen to maintain good relations with Gulf countries, particularly Saudi Arabia.

The remarks by the Lebanese president come a day after the country’s caretaker foreign minister made derogatory remarks aimed at Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states and suggested the Kingdom had helped fund the rise of Daesh (the so-called ISIS) in Syria and Iraq.

“The presidency considers that the foreign minister’s remarks express his personal opinion, and in no way reflect the position of the Lebanese state and its President General Michel Aoun, who is keen on rejecting any offence against friendly countries in general and Saudi Arabia and Gulf states in particular,”Aoun’s office said.

The caretaker Lebanese, Charbel Wehbe, also made an attempt to backtrack his statements.

In a statement on Tuesday, Wehbe said: “I wish to stress, once again, that some of the inappropriate expressions that I have uttered out of emotion in rejection of the unacceptable offenses directed against the President of the Republic, are the kind for which I do not hesitate to apologize.”

“Also, the intention was not, at any time, to offend any of the brotherly Arab countries or peoples, with my efforts never ceasing to strengthen relations with them for the common welfare and interest, and always on the basis of mutual respect,” he added in the statement.