An Arab League delegation arrived in Beirut on Monday for talks aimed at resolving a diplomatic crisis between Lebanon and the Gulf countries.
The visit “aims to hear the Lebanese viewpoint, in an effort to bring the views closer and solve the problem with Saudi Arabia,” Assistant Secretary-General of the Arab League, Hossam Zaki, said following talks with Lebanese President Michel Aoun.
"The Lebanese-Gulf reconciliation is the goal of the Arab League and our path is to find a way-out of this situation," Zaki said, adding that his talks with Aoun were “frank” without giving any further details.
The Arab League official said he will meet later on Monday with Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati and Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri.
Relations strained between the Gulf nations and Lebanon over statements made by Information Minister George Kordahi before he took his post in the new Lebanese government on the Yemeni conflict.
Asked if he "thinks that the Houthis, like Hezbollah, are defending their land as an armed organization," Kordahi responded: "Of course they are defending themselves ... My personal opinion is that this war in Yemen needs to end. Houses, buildings, villages, and cities are being attacked by fighter jets."
Angered by Kordahi’s critical comments, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Kuwait, and Bahrain recalled their ambassadors from Lebanon.
Kordahi, for his part, has rejected calls for him to resign to help heal the rift with the Gulf nations.
Yemen has been engulfed by violence and instability since 2014, when Iran-aligned Houthi rebels captured much of the country, including the capital, Sanaa. A Saudi-led coalition aimed at reinstating the Yemeni government has worsened the situation and caused one of the world’s worst man-made humanitarian crises.