Lebanon's Information Minister George Kordahi has resigned in a move aimed at easing a diplomatic row with Saudi Arabia over remarks he made over the monarchy's military campaign in Yemen.
"I decided to give up my ministerial position because Lebanon is more important than me and I do not accept to be used as a reason to harm the Lebanese in the Gulf countries," Kordahi said at a press conference in Beirut.
A Lebanese government source told the DPA news agency that the resignation was very important before French President Emmanuel Macron's visit to Saudi Arabia on Saturday to pave the way for French efforts to solve the diplomatic crisis between officials in Beirut and Riyadh.
Macron is currently on a two-day Gulf trip to the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
France, a former mandate power, still has close ties with Lebanon.
Kordahi said in a television interview before he became a minister in September that Yemen's Houthis were defending themselves against "foreign aggression," implicitly referring to the Saudi-led military campaign there.
In response, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries recalled their ambassadors from Lebanon.
The Saudi government also imposed a ban on all Lebanese exports, thus deepening Lebanon's economic meltdown.
Kordahi, who is close to the Lebanese Hezbollah group, is a former TV host who for years presented on the Saudi-owned MBC channel the Arabic version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.
Last month, Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah blamed Saudi Arabia for the diplomatic rift with Lebanon and said that the Saudi reaction to the interview was "very very very exaggerated".
Australian Associated Press