Lebanese minister who sparked Gulf row to resign

Beirut (AFP) – Lebanese Information Minister George Kordahi was expected to resign Friday, almost six weeks after comments he made on Yemen sparked a row with Gulf countries that has crippled the government.


A senior official told AFP that Kordahi "called President Michel Aoun last night to inform him of his decision to resign" on Friday.

Kordahi, a well-known TV presenter before he was appointed information minister in September, is holding a press conference at 1:00 pm (1100 GMT).

His resignation has been on the table for weeks and is expected to help unlock a political and diplomatic crisis that has crippled Lebanon's fledgling cabinet since October.

The expected breakthrough coincided with a visit to the Gulf by French President Emmanuel Macron, who has spearheaded international efforts to help Lebanon out of its worst ever economic crisis.

Macron started his two-day tour in Abu Dhabi but was also due to visit Qatar, which Michel Aoun also visited recently, and Saudi Arabia.

Kordahi criticised the Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen during an interview which was recorded before he became minister but was aired on Lebanese TV after he joined the cabinet.

His remarks angered Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, which responded by recalling their ambassadors from Beirut.

The move was a blow to Lebanon, whose government was only formed in September after a 13-month deadlock and was expected to undertake major reforms to rescue the country from a devastating economic crisis.