Lebanon discusses restoring Gulf ties with Kuwait
Lebanon–The Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati held a phone call with Kuwait’s foreign minister, Sheikh Ahmad Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Sabah, to restore Lebanese-Gulf relations. Mikati’s office announced this news in a statement on Saturday.
In January, Sheikh Ahmad visited Lebanon to mend the relations between both countries. He also talked with Najib Mikati to restore trust with Lebanon. Sheikh Ahmad reportedly delivered a set of trust-building demands to Lebanese authorities. Kuwait and Saudi Arabia were for a long time strong allies of Lebanon. Saudi Arabia was once Lebanon’s main financial benefactor. Between 2003 and 2015, 76 per cent of foreign direct investment (FDI) in Beirut came from the Gulf states.
However, in October 2021, Saudi Arabia and its allies suspended diplomatic ties with Lebanon over former Information Minister Georges Kordahi’s comments on Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen. He reportedly criticised the Saudi-led coalition that has been at war against the Houthi rebels in Yemen since 2015. Following Kordahi’s comments, Saudi Arabia severed its diplomatic relations with Lebanon in October and recalled its ambassador. Subsequently, Kuwait and Bahrain also severed ties with Lebanon.
In December 2021, George Cordahi resigned from his post in a bid to resolve the country’s crisis with the Gulf countries. French President Emmanuel Macron also visited Saudi Arabia in December. He mediated a call between Mikati and Saudi Crown Prince Mohamad Bin Salman to end the dispute. Earlier, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman called on the Lebanese in a speech to end the terrorist Hezbollah’s control of Lebanon. The Hezbollah group is the Iran-backed militant group.
Lebanon is in the third year of an economic meltdown. It began in 2019 when the financial system of Lebanon collapsed by corruption, mismanagement, and huge state debt. The Beirut port explosion of 2020 also affected the country. The explosion was caused by a large amount of ammonium nitrate stored unsafely for years. Diplomatic isolation from Gulf states further affected the Lebanese economy in recent months.