Saudi Arabia has recalled its ambassador to Berlin in protest over comments made by the German foreign minister perceived as suggesting that Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri had been held against his will in Riyadh.
Early Saturday, Riyadh’s state news agency SPA released a statement protesting comments on the crisis by German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel calling for Lebanon’s neighbors — including Saudi Arabia — to let it decide its own fate.
“Saudi Arabia has decided to recall its ambassador to Germany for consultations and will give the German ambassador in the kingdom a letter protesting these unfortunate and unjustified statements,” SPA said, citing a spokesman for the Saudi foreign ministry.
During a joint press conference with Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil on Thursday, Gabriel said he shared the concern about the threat of instability and bloodshed in Lebanon and, without mentioning Saudi Arabia directly, warned against the “adventurism” behind the Lebanon crisis.
Earlier in the week Gabriel had said: “Lebanon has earned the right to decide on its fate by itself and not become a pinball of Syria or Saudi Arabia or other national interests”.
But according to SPA, a Saudi foreign ministry spokesman said: “These statements are dangerous, based on false information and do not help achieve stability in the region.
“These (statements) have astonished Saudi Arabia… which does not consider them representative of a friendly German government that is a reliable partner in the fight against terrorism and to establish security in the region,” the spokesman added.