Gulf Arab states discuss next steps to end rift with Lebanon

Lebanon presented on Sunday its response to the initiative led by Kuwait and the Arab states of the Gulf to end the rift between them.

Relations between Lebanon and the Gulf Arab states are at their lowest in years, further impacting the Lebanese economic crisis.

The rift was sparked by earlier public comments ex-information minister Georges Kordahi made about the war in Yemen and the Gulf states’ involvement in it.

The diplomatic drift led to the expulsion of several Lebanese ambassadors in the Gulf region and the banning of all Lebanese imports, affecting hundreds of businesses in Lebanon, including the agricultural sector.

Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Ahmad Nasser Al-Sabah visited Beirut this month to present a series of suggestions aimed at ending the rift with the Gulf states.

Suggestions included stopping drug trafficking out of Lebanon and into Gulf Arab countries, and ending interference in their internal affairs, including limiting Hezbollah’s involvement in other Arab countries, especially Yemen.

They call for the implementation of resolution 1559 adopted in 2004 which calls for the disarmament of non-state militias in Lebanon, which at this stage means the disarmament of Hezbollah.

On Saturday, Lebanese Foreign Minister Abdallah Bou Habib traveled to Kuwait to deliver Lebanon’s answers.

The Lebanese letter said that Lebanon would respect the Gulf region by guaranteeing “civil peace and national stability” and also added that Lebanon “would not be a launching pad for activities that violate Arab countries”.

The end of the quarrel between Lebanon and the Gulf States will slowly but surely help the Lebanese economy which largely depends on its exports to the Gulf region.

It will also come as a relief to the tens of thousands of Lebanese expats working in the Gulf to ensure their families in Lebanon can survive through the crippling ongoing recession.

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