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DUBAI: The UAE on Sunday called on its citizens in Lebanon to immediately return home, a day after recalling its diplomats from Beirut over a Lebanese minister's remarks on the Yemen war.

"In light of current events... the foreign ministry calls on all its citizens in Lebanon to return to the UAE as soon as possible," it said in a statement. "The ministry has taken all necessary measures to facilitate the return of its citizens," it added.

In an interview recorded in August and aired this week, Lebanese Information Minister George Kordahi said Iran-backed Huthi rebels in Yemen were "defending themselves... against an external aggression", sparking a diplomatic row between Beirut and Arab Gulf states.

A Saudi-led military coalition that has included the UAE intervened to prop up the Yemeni government in 2015, after Huthi rebels seized the capital Sanaa in 2014. Saudi Arabia on Friday gave Lebanon's ambassador 48 hours to leave the country, recalled its envoy from Beirut and suspended all imports from Lebanon.

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