Bahrain calls on its citizens to leave Lebanon 'immediately'

Manama’s call is the latest development in Gulf backlash after Lebanese minister’s pro-Houthi comments

Lebanese Information Minister George Kordahi's statement on the Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen drew another strong response from a Gulf state when Bahrain called its citizens home from Lebanon. Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Kuwait recalled their representatives from Beirut last week. AFP
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Bahrain called on all citizens to leave Lebanon immediately on Tuesday, in the latest escalation following a dispute between the Gulf and Beirut over a Lebanese minister’s pro-Houthi comments.

Information Minister George Kordahi said in an interview last week that the Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen were acting in self-defence, comments deemed insulting by Riyadh.

He refused to apologise or resign amid the biggest diplomatic crisis in years between Lebanon and its allies in the Gulf.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Bahrain calls on all citizens present in the Lebanese Republic to leave immediately due to the tense situation there,” Manama said in a statement shared by the state news agency.

“The ministry confirms its previous statements not to travel to the Lebanese Republic at all, to ensure citizens are not exposed to any risks and to ensure their safety.”

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Kuwait recalled their representatives in Beirut last week.

Riyadh has also banned imports from Lebanon.

The Yemeni government in Aden said in a statement on Tuesday that it will also recall its ambassador in Beirut for consultations over the comments.

A Saudi-led Arab coalition has backed the internationally-recognised Yemeni government against the Houthis, after the group took over Sanaa in 2015.

Iran-backed Hezbollah, which aids the Houthis, has expressed support for Mr Kordahi.

Updated: November 02, 2021, 5:45 PM