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Lebanon’s FM Resigns Over Gulf States Comments

Lebanon’s foreign minister resigned days after his comments in a television interview sparked outrage in the Arab Gulf states.

Charbel Wehbe resigned on Wednesday. “I hope this subject will be closed once and for all and will fade into oblivion to allow the Lebanese relationships with Arab and friendly and brotherly countries to be based on mutual respect,” he said in his announcements.

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.

Defense Minister Zeina Akar will take over the portfolio, holding both positions in the caretaker government.

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.

In addition, eight Lebanese lawyers submitted a complaint against Wehbe to the Court of Cassation for “breaching functional duties and committing crimes that threaten national unity and Lebanon’s relationships with Arab countries.” With his resignation, Wehbe does not have any parliamentary immunity. He could be fined or sentenced to prison by the court.