Saudi ambassador to Lebanon hits back at Hezbollah

Waleed Bukhari says Lebanese group's regional activities threaten Arab security

Saudi Arabia's ambassador to Lebanon, Waleed Bukhari, said Hezbollah poses a threat to Arab security. SPA
Powered by automated translation

Lebanon's Hezbollah movement is a threat to Arab security, Saudi Arabia's ambassador to Beirut said on Thursday, in the kingdom's first response to a verbal attack by the leader of the Iran-backed group.

Ambassador Waleed Bukhari called on Lebanese politicians to prioritise their country's interests and put an end to Hezbollah's “terrorist hegemony".

“Riyadh hopes that the political parties will give priority to the supreme interest of Lebanon … and end Hezbollah's terrorist hegemony over every aspect of the state,” Mr Bukhari said in a statement to AFP.

Hezbollah's terrorist activities and regional military behaviour threaten Arab national security
Waleed Bukhari, Saudi Ambassador to Lebanon

“Hezbollah's terrorist activities and regional military behaviour threaten Arab national security,” he said.

Mr Bukhari's statement comes after Hassan Nasrallah, leader of the Shiite movement, accused Saudi Arabia of supporting terrorism in a televised speech on Monday.

Mr Nasrallah's comments were promptly dismissed by Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati, who said they did not serve Lebanon's national interest or represent the country's official stance.

“What … Nasrallah said about the kingdom of Saudi Arabia this evening does not represent the position of the Lebanese government and most Lebanese. It is not in Lebanon's interest to offend any Arab country, especially the Gulf states,” Mr Mikati said on Monday evening.

“For God's sake, have mercy on Lebanon and the Lebanese people and stop the hateful sectarian and political rhetoric.”

A Saudi-led coalition supporting Yemen's government against Iran-backed rebels recently presented evidence of Hezbollah's role in training them in the use of armed drones used to attack the kingdom.

Riyadh suspended diplomatic ties with Lebanon in late October after the airing of statements by the Lebanese information minister at the time criticising Saudi Arabia's intervention in Yemen.

Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan later said that Hezbollah's dominance in Lebanon, and not just the minister's comments, had prompted the kingdom to cut ties.

Updated: January 07, 2022, 9:13 AM