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Lebanon’s Caretaker FM Comments Foment Tension With Gulf States

Lebanon’s caretaker government came under fire after its foreign minister in a television interview suggested that Gulf states had supported the rise of the Islamic State.

Charbel Wehbe made the comments on Monday in an interview with Alhurra, a United States-based public Arabic-language satellite TV channel.  “Those countries of love, friendship and fraternity, they brought us Islamic State,” he said during the interview.

In the wake of the interview, several Gulf States, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Bahrain summoned their ambassadors from Lebanon for reprimand. The Gulf Cooperation Council called for a public apology.

Whebe has submitted a request to Lebanese President Michel Aoun to step down “in light of the recent developments and the circumstances that accompanied the interview I gave to a television station,” Alarabiya News reported on Wednesday, citing a tweet by the Lebanese presidency.