Saudi Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Awadh Asiri emphasized his right to defend his country in the wake of the criticism against it over its military operation against Huthi rebels, especially by Hizbullah, reported As Safir newspaper on Wednesday.
He told the daily: “I have the right to respond to issues that concern my country and leadership, especially when these remarks exceed reason.”
“I do not believe that Yemen is any of Hizbullah's concern,” he added.
“Hizbullah is located in its own country, not in Yemen,” the ambassador said.
“I believe that its intervention in Yemen, as demonstrated by the media and its support for the Huthis, is unacceptable,” Asiri remarked.
Asked whether the war in Yemen has harmed efforts of rapprochement between Saudi Arabia and Iran, he replied: “As a diplomat, I hope they enjoy good diplomatic ties based on respect and refraining from meddling in Saudi, Yemeni, and Gulf affairs.”
“The blatant Iranian meddling in a country that neighbors Saudi Arabia is unacceptable,” he stressed.
“Iran has since 1979 been exporting its Islamic revolution through various means. Is that what it seeks in Yemen?” wondered Asiri.
“We will not allow it. We will not allow the emergence of a faction that is hostile to us, located on our border, and supported by a country that has nothing to do with Yemen,” he noted.
Addressing his objection to Tele Liban's broadcast of an interview with Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah during which he caustically criticized the kingdom, Asiri said: “I respect Tele Liban as a government station.”
“I have not objection to Hizbullah addressing the Lebanese people or Israel or whoever he likes. But it is unacceptable that he employ an official station to deliver negative messages and target the kingdom's leadership,” he explained.
Saudi Arabia launched airstrikes in Yemen on March 25, announcing that it had put together a coalition of more than 10 countries, including five Gulf monarchies, for the military operation to defend Yemeni President Abedrabbo Mansur Hadi's government against Huthi rebels.
It said that it will continue its operation Decisive Storm until Hadi is restored to power and the rebels, backed by Iran, are defeated.
The military move against the Shiite Huthi rebels triggered fury from Saudi Arabia's regional rival Iran, Hizbullah's main regional ally, with officials in Tehran warning that the military action threatened to spill over into other countries.
Nasrallah had slammed during his past two appearances the kingdom's offensive, launching a scathing attack against it and saying that it will suffer a “major defeat.”
Media reports had recently said that Hizbullah had sent fighters to Yemen to support the Huthis.
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