Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri said in a speech Tuesday that his country’s relations with other Arab nations do not change according to the “whims and positions” of some political forces, adding that he had hoped that FM Gebran Bassil retracted his words faster.
Gebran Bassil, the Lebanese Foreign Minister, Tweeted on Sunday about labor laws in Lebanon saying: “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.” The tweet caused wide Saudi outrage on social media.
Al-Hariri’s speech addressed the matter saying: “We cannot make Gulf states, Saudi Arabia, and its leadership enemies of Lebanon,” adding that “every house in Lebanon has a member who works in the Gulf and Saudi Arabia.”
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.”
Bassil replied 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.”