Lebanon's ties with Arab states do not depend on whims of parties, officials

Saad Al-Hariri

BEIRUT — Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Al-Hariri stressed on Tuesday that the Gulf states and Saudi Arabia should not be placed in the position of rivalry with Lebanon.

"Lebanon's relationship with the Arab countries is not subject to the mood of some parties and officials," Hariri told a news conference on Tuesday. "Gulf states and Saudi Arabia should not be placed in a position of rivalry with Lebanon," he added.

Hariri was responding to a controversial tweet by his Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil that triggered widespread outrage on social media in Saudi Arabia.

Hariri said that he had hoped that Bassil would retract his words quickly.

Lebanese foreign minister in his tweet on Sunday about labor laws in Lebanon had said: “It’s normal to defend Lebanese workers against workers from any other nationalities, be it Syrians, Palestinians, French, Saudi, Iranian, or American. The Lebanese employee comes first.”

Doctor Khalid Al-Saud, a Saudi businessman and an academic in the field of public administration, replied to the Lebanese foreign minister saying: “Saudis come to your country as tourists, not to look for a job. Your excellency should corroborate information before tweeting.”

Meanwhile Bassil reacted to the outrage by tweeting: “Countries, including Lebanon and Saudi Arabia, prioritize their people in their laws. This is not racism. When you defend your nation, you are patriotic, not racist.” — Agencies