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Lebanese minister who criticized Saudi war in Yemen resigns in gesture to Riyadh

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BEIRUT (AP) — Lebanon’s information minister resigned Friday, saying he hoped the much-anticipated move will open the way for easing an unprecedented diplomatic crisis with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Arab countries. That crisis has added to immense economic troubles facing Lebanon, already mired in a financial meltdown.

Minister George Kordahi, a prominent former game show host, said he took the decision to step down ahead of French President Emmanuel Macron’s visit to Saudi Arabia on Saturday. The resignation, Kordahi said at a press conference in the Lebanese capital, may help Macron start a dialogue to help restore Beirut-Riyadh relations.

The crisis erupted following Kordahi’s televised comments aired in October that were critical of Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen. The kingdom recalled its ambassador from Beirut and banned all Lebanese imports in response to Kordahi’s remarks, affecting hundreds of businesses and cutting off hundreds of millions in foreign currency to Lebanon.

The minister said he meant no offense with the comments, made before he was appointed to the cabinet post, and for weeks refused to resign, prolonging the crisis.

“Lebanon is more important than George Kordahi,” he said at the press conference Friday. “I hope that this resignation opens the window” for better relations with Gulf Arab countries, he added.

The diplomatic spat over Kordahi has aggravated Lebanon’s economic crisis, the worst in its modern........

© The Times of Israel

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