Kuwait warns ties with Lebanon could sour over Beirut port rebuilding

A new row has emerged between Kuwait  and Lebanon following Lebanese caretaker Economy Minister's comments about rebuilding a portion of Beirut’s port.

On Saturday, Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Salem Abdullah Al-Jaber Al-Sabah criticised Salam’s comments made on Wednesday, when the minister urged Kuwait to rebuild Lebanon’s main wheat silos, a decision he said could be made with “the stroke of a pen”.

The silos were built in 1969 with a grant from the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development but were destroyed during the Beirut port blast of 2020.

Al-Sabah stated Salam’s comments were “incompatible” with political norms on how decisions were made and called on him to retract them in order to protect bilateral ties.

Salam, in turn, said he meant no offence by his comments and rather was referring to how quickly the decision could be taken, Lebanese media quoted him saying.

Lebanese-Persian Gulf relations soured in 2021 when Lebanon’s then-information minister criticised the Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen. Kuwait was among the Persian Gulf countries to withdraw their envoys to Lebanon, only having them return in 2022.

Kuwait’s response occurred just a day after Lebanon marked three years since the catastrophic blast on August 4, 2020 that destroyed many parts of the Lebanese capital, killing more than 220 people and injuring at least 6,500 others.

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