Lebanon’s top Christian cleric calls on authorities to defuse crisis with Gulf

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DUBAI, Oct 31 (Reuters) – Lebanese Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros Al-Rai called on the authorities on Sunday to take a “decisive step” to defuse a crisis with Gulf Arab states over critical comments made by Information Minister George Kordahi about the Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen.

Rai, who made the plea to President Michel Aoun and Prime Minister Najib Mikati in his Sunday sermon, did not suggest any specific measure.

Kordahi says he made his comments about the war in Yemen before becoming a minister and so far resisted calls to resign.

Saudi Arabia expelled Lebanon’s envoy and banned all Lebanese imports on Friday, and Bahrain and Kuwait followed suit, giving the top Lebanese diplomats 48 hours to exit. The United Arab Emirates later said it would withdraw all its diplomats and banned its citizens from travelling to Lebanon.

(Reporting by Maher Chmaytelli; Editing by Alison Williams)

Photo – Lebanese Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros Al Rai (C) in Beirut, Lebanon. EPA-EFE/WAEL HAMZEH

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