Lebanese Information Minister George Kordahi is under fire by pro-Saudi officials and media outlets over remarks he made last August over the Saudi-UAE war on Yemen.
In an Al Jazeera-affiliated youth show Kordahi was asked the difference between the Lebanese Resistance group Hezbollah and the Yemeni Houthis. The information minister said Houthis defending themselves against Saudi and Emirati aggression on their country.
Scenes of the show, which was broadcast last August, emerged on social media on Tuesday, prompting Saudi officials as well as officials and media outlets close to them to take aim against Kordahi.
Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Lebanon Waleed Bukhari retweeted several tweets. One of the tweets addressed Kordahi, asking if he thought the Saudis or Emiratis were “fools” and if the minister was an “idiot.”
The Lebanese minister took to Twitter to defend his comments, saying the interview took place on Aug. 5, before he was appointed a minister.
“I did not mean, in any way, to offend the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia or the [UAE], for which I have the utmost loyalty and love,” Kordahi said in a series of tweets.
He also said that the sides behind this campaign were known and that they were targeting him from the beginning of his tenure as a minister.
Citing a Saudi source, MTV Lebanese TV channel said Lebanon will face a severe diplomatic crisis because of Kordahi’s “offensive” statements on Arab countries regardless of the timing of the interview.
For its part, the Gulf Cooperation Council condemned on Wednesday the comments made by Kordahi, saying it reflects limited knowledge and shallow understanding.
In a press conference on Wednesday, Kordahi rejected claims accusing him of enmity towards Saudi Arabia.
“The episode that sparked controversy was shot on August 5, a few weeks before my appointment as minister,” Kordahi said.
“The positions I expressed during the that episode regarding Syria, Palestine, and the Arab Gulf are personal opinions and they do not bind the government,” he added.
“Being a minister in the government, I am committed to its policy,” he stressed.