Former Lebanese Minister Wiam Wahhab, the head of the Arab Unification Party, caused a diplomatic incident with Russia and Ukraine when he appeared on Al-Jadeed TV (Lebanon) on September 12. During the show, Wahhab told TV Host Samar Abou Khalil that when he met with Lebanese President Michel Aoun, he told the president that the Lebanese people needed to decide what kind of country Lebanon should be. If Lebanon is a tourism-based, industrial, or agricultural country, different things are required, explained Wahhab, but if Lebanon is a "country of prostitution, we should bring 10,000 beautiful women from Russia and the Ukraine." Wahhab said that President Aoun laughed at his joke.
After the show, the Ukrainian Embassy in Lebanon issued a statement of condemnation, which led to an apology on the following day by TV Host Abou Khalil. Wahhab's Arab Unification Party issued a statement saying that all he meant was to demonstrate how beautiful Russian and Ukrainian women are, and that the party appreciates the struggle of Russian women against the Nazis and in Syria. The statement referred to Russian women as "women of the first rate." Wahhab himself reiterated this sentiment in a statement to the "Lebanon 24" website.
Wiam Wahhab: "Did I tell you what happened to me with the President of Lebanon?"
Journalist: "No. I have heard lots of stories, but..."
Wiam Wahhab: "I said to him: 'Mr. President, we need to decide what type of country we are.' He asked me what I meant and I said to him that we must decide. If we are a tourism-based country, certain things are required. If we are a country based on agriculture or industry, other things are required. But if we are a country of prostitution, we should bring 10,000 beautiful women from Russia and Ukraine. You need to decide what you are. If we are a country of prostitution, certain things are required. What type of country are we? Have we decided what type of country we are...?"
Journalist: "What did he answer you?"
Wiam Wahhab: "He laughed. We were joking."
Journalist: "The Ukrainian Embassy in London denounced what was said by the head of Arab Unification Party, former minister Wiam Wahhab, yesterday on Jadeed TV. Al-Jadeed TV apologizes to Ukraine and to Russia and to their people. Al-Jadeed TV stresses that what was said by the guest reflects his opinion alone, and in no way does it reflect the channel's position regarding the honorable people of thse two countries. Since I was personally present with [former] minister Wiam Wahhab on that show, I would like to extend all my love and appreciation to the pioneering, fighting, heroic women, and to all the women of Russia and Ukraine. [I apologize] for what was said and I say to them: We love you, we appreciate you, and we respect you."