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Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have said they will return their ambassadors to Lebanon, months after recalling them in a dispute fueled by Iran’s influence in the Mediterranean state.
Saudi Arabia also banned Lebanese imports during the row, which was apparently sparked by criticism from a Lebanese government minister over his military intervention in Yemen against Iran-backed Houthi rebels in October this year. last.
The decision announced in official news agencies came after the Lebanese Prime Minister said the country, which is going through a financial crisis, would end political and military activities that affected Gulf countries that have traditionally acted as its main donors. .
Criticism of the war in Yemen by Information Minister George Kordahi, who has since resigned, came as the last straw for Saudi Arabia, which has lost its influence in Lebanon to Iran and of its local ally Hezbollah, a militant group with political power. .
Saudi officials said their country had given Lebanon billions of dollars in aid over the past decades to see the Iran-backed group gain strength.
The country’s relations with Lebanon soured in 2017 when then-Lebanese Prime Minister Said al-Hariri announced his resignation from the Saudi capital Riyadh, citing Iranian interference. The Lebanese president has accused Saudi Arabia of holding the prime minister hostage and forcing him to deliver his speech.
Lebanon, which is grappling with its worst financial crisis amid widespread corruption and political gridlock, tentatively accepted a $3 billion loan from the IMF this week. The loan, which still needs to be ratified by the Lebanese parliament and the IMF board, will force Lebanon to reform its banking system and public spending.
The financial crisis saw the Lebanese pound lose more than 90% of its value, leading to soaring prices and an exodus of Lebanese emigrants.