BEIRUT — Marada Movement leader Sleiman Frangieh tweeted Sunday that his party will not name a replacement for George Kurdahi, who stepped down from his post as Information Minister Friday amid pressure over a diplomatic row with the Gulf prompted by his criticisms of the Saudi-led war effort in Yemen.
Here's what we know:
• "With our respect and love for all the names that have been presented in the media, our position that we expressed in Bkerki that we will not name a replacement for Minister George Kurdahi has not and will not change," Frangieh wrote.
• Frangieh had previously said he rejected an offer by Kurdahi to resign, adding that “my conscience does not allow me to ask such a thing from a minister who did not make an error.” Kurdahi's comments criticizing the Saudi military intervention in Yemen were recorded before he took his ministerial position.
• Meanwhile, Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea, who is politically close to the Saudis and the most prominent political opponent of the Hezbollah-allied bloc of which Marada is a part, said in an interview with the Kuwaiti Newspaper that in his opinion Kurdahi's resignation "will not solve the crisis with the Gulf," noting that the Gulf states' issue with Lebanon is more broadly with Hezbollah's prominent position in the political system.
• However, Geagea characterized Kurdahi's resignation as a "blow" to Hezbollah and said it "may open a door for discussion and dialogue in order to reach a ground on which everyone in Lebanon is convinced of the necessity of changing the political track."
• On Saturday, France and Saudi issued a joint statement saying that the French President Emmanuel Macron and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman had "agreed to establish a Saudi-French mechanism for humanitarian assistance" to Lebanon, but without giving any details. It was also unclear whether the KSA would reverse its punitive measures towards Lebanon, including a complete ban on Lebanese imports.
• Kurdahi had said that his resignation was prompted by a request from Macron ahead of his meeting with bin Salman, in which he hoped to reach an opening in the crisis between Lebanon and the kingdom.