Several GCC countries including the UAE, Bahrain and Kuwait have strongly criticized the comments made by Lebanese caretaker Foreign Affairs Minister Charbel Wehbe on Monday.
Wehbe is reported to have told Al-Hurra TV, “There is a second stage when ISIS (Daesh) came, and the countries of the people of love, friendship, and brotherhood brought them. The countries of love brought us Daesh and planted it for us in the Nineveh Plains, Anbar, and Palmyra.”
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The statement which was interpreted as implying that the Gulf states were responsible for the rise of Daesh, attracted immediate and sharp criticism from GCC member countries.
In a statement issued by state-run Saudi Press Agency, Saudi said that it “expresses strong condemnation and denunciation of such disgraceful abuses against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, its people, and the GCC countries.” It added that these statements are “incompatible with the simplest diplomatic norms and are inconsistent with the historical relations between the two brotherly peoples.”
It also summoned the ambassador of Lebanon to Saudi, Fawzi Kabbara, to express the kingdom’s “rejection and denunciation of the insults issued by the Lebanese Foreign Minister”, while handing him an official protest note.
The UAE strongly condemned Wehbe’s statements too terming them as “derogatory and racist”. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation also summoned the Lebanese ambassador to the UAE and handed over a protest note denouncing the minister’s remarks, which the ministry added “fly in the face of all diplomatic norms and are inconsistent with the historical relations between Lebanon and all GCC states.”
Bahrain Foreign Ministry was reported by the Bahrain News Agency as saying that the “statements are inconsistent with basic diplomatic norms and contradict the fraternal relations that bind the people of the GCC states with the brotherly Lebanese people.” It too summoned the Lebanese ambassador to Bahrain and handed him a protest note.
Kuwait’s deputy foreign minister Majdi Al Thufairi also summoned the charge d’affairs of the Lebanese embassy in Kuwait, Hadi Hashim, and handed him an protest note. Kuwait termed the remarks of the Lebanese foreign minister as “gravely abusive.”
The secretary general of the GCC, Dr. Nayef bin Falah Mubarak Al-Hajraf, termed the remarks as “outrageous insults against GCC member states and peoples, in addition to offending the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.” He demanded Wehbe make an official apology to the GCC member states “for the absolutely unacceptable insults.”
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