Information Minister George Kordahi about the Arab Coalition

Lebanese President Michel Aoun said on Saturday he wants the best relations with Saudi Arabia after the kingdom summoned its ambassador, expelled Beirut’s envoy and banned Lebanese imports.

Aoun’s statement in a tweet followed talks by a ministerial crisis management group aimed at easing a diplomatic rift that stemmed partly from comments by a Lebanese minister criticizing the Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen.

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The Lebanese presidency statement added that Aoun is keen on having the best relations with Saudi Arabia and on strengthening them by signing bilateral deals.

The row over critical comments made by Lebanese Information Minister George Kordahi about the Arab Coalition military intervention in Yemen threw the government into a new crisis amid calls for Kordahi’s resignation.

Kordahi had said that Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthis were defending themselves and described the years long war in Yemen as “futile.”

Saudi Arabia has affirmed its keenness on the Lebanese citizens residing in the Kingdom, “whom it considers part of the fabric and bond that unites the Saudi people and their Arab brothers residing in the Kingdom,” according to the statement issued Friday.

The ministry added that it did not consider that what was said by Kordahi reflected the positions of the Lebanese community residing in the Kingdom.

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