Comments by the German Foreign Minister appearing to criticise Saudi Arabia for holding the ex-Lebanese Prime Minster against his will has caused Riyadh to recall its ambassador to Berlin for consultation.
In a statement, the state news agency SPA said German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel comments calling on Lebanon’s neighbours – including Saudi Arabia – should allow it to decide its own fate were “unfortunate and unjustified.”
Earlier in the week Gabriel had said: “Lebanon has earned the right to decide on its fate by itself and not become a pinball of Syria or Saudi Arabia or other national interests”.
But according to SPA, a Saudi foreign ministry spokesman said: “These statements are dangerous, based on false information and do not help achieve stability in the region.”
Two Saturdays ago, the Lebanese Prime Minister, Saad Al-Hariri announced on Saudi soil his resignation prompting fears that he was being held against his will and had been forced to do so by Saudi Arabia. He cited interference by Iran into the internal affairs of Lebanon and a plot by the Iranians to assassinate him as reasons for his resignation.
Since then he has vowed to return to Lebanon but arrived today in France for a few days at the invitation of the French President Macron before making the journey back to Lebanon.
Analysts speaking to Muslim Eye expect the Prime Minster to return to his position at the head of the government but has been tasked by Saudi Arabia and the USA to reduce the influence of the Shia Militia movement Hezbollah.