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LEBANON-GULF CRISIS

Saudi foreign minister says Riyadh decided engagement with Lebanon “not productive”

Saudi foreign minister says Riyadh decided engagement with Lebanon “not productive”

Prince Faisal poses at the G20 summit in Rome on Oct. 30. (Credit: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP)

BEIRUT — The foreign minister of Saudi Arabia has told CNBC in an interview aired Sunday morning that Riyadh believes engagement with Lebanon was not productive, adding that his country’s concerns with Lebanon go beyond the recent comments by Information Minister George Kurdahi.

Here’s what we know:

    • “We have decided that I think engagement [with Lebanon] at this point is not productive or useful. And it’s not really in our interest,” Prince Faisal bin Farhan told CNBC.

    • The Saudi prince added that his country had come to a conclusion that “Hezbollah’s continuing dominance of the political scene” made any dealing with Lebanon counterproductive.

    • Prince Faisal said that his country’s calculations on Lebanon were based on more than just Kurdahi’s comments in an interview on the war in Yemen. “So for us, it is broader than just the comments of one minister, it is more an indication of the state that Lebanon is in,” he said.

    • Saudi Arabia late Friday night announced that it was recalling its ambassador from Beirut, expelling Lebanon’s envoy while also stopping all imports from Lebanon.

    • Bahrain, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates followed in Riyadh’s footsteps in recalling their ambassadors, while Qatar called on Lebanon’s government to take urgent actions to rebuild ties with Gulf states.

    • A crisis cell of Lebanese ministers met Saturday regarding the crisis, with one minister saying Lebanon could not afford allowing the government to resign.  A US diplomat joined the crisis cell's meeting, while a political source told Reuters that US and European nations "were in contact with Lebanese officials to prevent the government from falling."

    • MP Hasan Fadlallah (Hezbollah/Bint Jbeil) said that Hezbollah “rejects the pressures being exerted” on Kurdahi and called for an end to "intimidations" on Lebanon and for the country's cabinet to be allowed to continue its work. The government has not met since Oct. 12 due to a political row over Judge Tarek Bitar's investigation into the 2020 Beirut port explosion, white Shiite ministers withdrawing from the sessions until a solution to the issue is reached.



BEIRUT — The foreign minister of Saudi Arabia has told CNBC in an interview aired Sunday morning that Riyadh believes engagement with Lebanon was not productive, adding that his country’s concerns with Lebanon go beyond the recent comments by Information Minister George Kurdahi.Here’s what we know:    • “We have decided that I think engagement [with Lebanon] at this point is...