Saudi envoy tells Hezbollah to ‘butt out’ of Yemen

Published April 15th, 2015 - 08:14 GMT
The ambassador's remarks come on the heels of harsh criticism of Saudi's military campaign from the Hezbollah group, who is allied with Yemen's Shiite Houthi rebels targeted in the airstrikes. (AFP/File)
The ambassador's remarks come on the heels of harsh criticism of Saudi's military campaign from the Hezbollah group, who is allied with Yemen's Shiite Houthi rebels targeted in the airstrikes. (AFP/File)

Saudi Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Awad Asiri Wednesday said that the crisis in Yemen was of no concern to Hezbollah and urged the group to drop the matter, two days before party chief Hasan Nasrallah is scheduled to speak on the issue.

“First of all, I have the right to respond to issues concerning my country and its leaders, especially when you listen to a language that has gone beyond the limits of reasoning,” Asiri told As-Safir newspaper, referring to fiery statements by Hezbollah officials denouncing the war.

“Secondly, I do not see that Yemen is Hezbollah’s business,” Asiri added. “Hezbollah is in Lebanon, not in Yemen, which has its statesmen and privacy.”

“I see that Hezbollah’s intervention in Yemen and its support for the Houthis as reported by the media, and the usage of [Hezbollah’s] media in the ongoing war in Yemen, is unacceptable,” he said.

He was responding to a question over why he issued a statement against Hezbollah after the party chief attacked Saudi Arabia for its military intervention in Yemen launched nearly three weeks ago.

Hezbollah, which stands with the Houthi rebels being targeted by Saudi-led coalition airstrikes in Yemen, has repeatedly denounced Riyadh over the intervention. Hezbollah deputy head Naim Qassem earlier this week accused the coalition of committing genocide in Yemen.

Hezbollah has called for a Friday rally in solidarity with Yemen in Beirut's southern suburbs, during which Nasrallah is expected to reiterate his opposition to the intervention in a speech.

Asiri, however, said Riyadh continued to support dialogue between Hezbollah and the Future Movement as the only means to defuse Sunni-Shiite tension.

Saudi Arabia, he said, “is very keen on the unity among the Lebanese and its support for Lebanon and its stability.”

“If the dialogue was constructive, supports Lebanese stability and contribute to the convergence of views between the Lebanese, we cannot object it,” he said.

Hezbollah and Future members met for a 10th dialogue session Tuesday night. The talks have continued despite simmering tensions exacerbated by the crisis in Yemen.


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