More than 85 Houthis killed near Marib in Yemen (Arab coalition)
Lebanese PM distances himself from Yemen Houthi minister’s “self-defense” claim
BEIRUT: Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati distanced himself on Wednesday from remarks made by the country’s Information Minister, George Kordahi, suggesting that the Iranian-backed Houthis were “defending themselves” in Yemen.
Kordahi had responded to a question from the host of “Barlamanasha3b”, an Al Jazeera-affiliated youth television program, asking his position on the conflict in the war-torn country.
In an interview recorded on August 5, a month before being appointed Minister of Information, Kordahi said, “The Houthis in Yemen are a resistance movement, defending themselves and not attacking anyone. He added that the group was acting in self-defense against “the Saudi-UAE attack on Yemen”.
Mikati said: “Kordahi’s statement reflects his personal opinion which we do not accept. These words do not express the position of the government or of the president (Michel Aoun) on the Yemeni question. Lebanon is attached to its ties with Arab countries.
When Kordahi’s remarks later appeared in a video posted online, they sparked a social media frenzy and a formal protest to the Lebanese Foreign Ministry against Yemen’s Ambassador to Lebanon Abdullah Al-Deais.
Kordahi responded by saying that he did not intend “to offend in any way the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia or the Emirates”, and expressed his “love and loyalty to the leaders and the peoples of both countries ”.
He added: “What I said about the war in Yemen being an absurd war that must end, I said with conviction, not to defend Yemen, but also out of love for Saudi Arabia. and the United Arab Emirates. “
But Al-Deais said Kordahi had “not added insult to injury because he did not apologize, but rather confirmed what he said.”
The Yemeni envoy added: “Kordahi’s remarks run counter to Lebanon’s clear stance towards Yemen and its condemnation of the Houthi coup and its support for all relevant Arab and UN resolutions. .
After a meeting with Aoun on Wednesday, Mikati added: “It is true that we distance ourselves from conflicts, but we do not distance ourselves from any Arab position in solidarity with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the states of Gulf.
This position is a constant one, and we look forward to the best relations.
“Kordahi’s comments will not affect the general course, especially since the constants of the Lebanese position on relations with Arab countries were set out in his ministerial declaration. The interview with Kordahi took place before he was appointed minister and aired yesterday, ”Mikati said.
Meanwhile, the Lebanese Foreign Ministry stressed that Kordahi’s comments reflect his “personal position” and “do not reflect the position of the government”.
In a statement, he said: “The ministry has repeatedly condemned terrorist attacks against Saudi Arabia and maintains its position in defending the safety and security of its Gulf brethren, for whom it has responsibility. ‘love, respect and appreciation, and refrain from interfering in their internal and external policies.
The Gulf Cooperation Council noted that Kordahi’s remarks showed his limited knowledge and lack of understanding of the situation in Yemen.
GCC Secretary General Dr Nayef bin Falah Al-Hajraf condemned “the Lebanese Minister of Information’s defense of the Houthi coup group, while ignoring the intransigence of the Houthi movement against all international efforts aimed at ending the Yemeni crisis, and at a time when the Saudi Houthi group is targeting missiles and marches, targeting the defenseless Yemeni people and preventing humanitarian aid from reaching disaster areas.
Saudi Ambassador to Lebanon Walid Al-Bukhari met with Al-Deais on Wednesday.
In a statement issued by the Saudi Embassy, Al-Bukhari reaffirmed “the Kingdom’s position on supporting legitimacy in Yemen, finding a political solution, in accordance with the terms of reference represented by the Gulf Initiative and its mechanism. Executive Committee, the results of the Comprehensive National Dialogue Conference and Resolution 2216, in order to preserve the unity and integrity of Yemen, respect its sovereignty and independence and reject any interference in its internal affairs.
The Iranian-backed Houthis continue hostilities and terrorist operations by firing ballistic missiles and trapped drones to target civilians and civilian objects in Saudi Arabia, violating international and humanitarian law by using civilian populations in the areas Yemeni civilians as human shields and throwing madmen. – boats trapped and marches from a distance, constituting a serious threat to regional and international security, ”he declared.
The Saudi envoy stressed: “the legitimate right of the Saudi-led coalition to restore legitimacy in Yemen, to take and implement the necessary measures to deal with these hostilities and terrorist attacks, and to prevent the smuggling of weapons into these problematic militias. threat to the freedom of maritime navigation and to world trade in the Strait of Bab Al-Mandab and the Red Sea.
Al-Bukhari praised the “effectiveness” of Saudi air defenses in intercepting and responding to more than 400 ballistic missiles, 791 drones and at least 205 naval mines.