Lebanon urged to end crisis with Gulf Arab states

Prime Minister Najib Mikati called for an end to “all political, military, security and media activities based in Lebanon that undermine the sovereignty, security and stability of Saudi Arabia and the countries of the Council of Gulf Cooperation”.

In a statement released on Monday, he said the current government is committed to restoring ties between Lebanon and the Gulf Arab states.

He shared that he had spoken with Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Ahmed Alabaster to address this issue and make efforts to “reunite” Lebanon with its Gulf counterparts.

The Lebanese Prime Minister also highlighted Lebanon’s efforts to prevent the smuggling of illegal and harmful substances to these countries.

His government, he said, will start focusing on “prohibiting the use of Lebanese financial and banking channels to carry out any financial transactions that could harm the security of Saudi Arabia and the GCC countries.”

Mikati also stressed that Lebanon is ready to engage in the Kuwaiti initiative.

Walid Jumblatt, leader of the Progressive Socialist Party, had urged the Lebanese government a week earlier to “restore relations” with Arab Gulf states, particularly Saudi Arabia, as the crisis further crippled the Lebanese economy.

The rift between Lebanon and the GCC was sparked by ex-Information Minister Georges Kordahi’s criticism of the war in Yemen and the Gulf states’ involvement in it.

Kordahi’s comments had led to the expulsion of several Lebanese ambassadors from the Gulf region and the banning of all Lebanese imports.

To restore diplomatic and economic relations, the GCC calls for major security reforms in Lebanon, including stopping drugs smuggling and the involvement of Hezbollah in other Arab countries, particularly Yemen, and the disarmament of the Iranian-backed militia.

The end of the rift between Lebanon and the Gulf States will slowly revive the Lebanese economy.

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

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