The UAE on Tuesday banned its citizens from travelling to Lebanon and said it was reducing the size of its diplomatic staff in the country.
The announcement came shortly after Saudi Arabia urged its citizens to leave Lebanon immediately “for their own safety”.
The UAE’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said it was upgrading “the travel warning to Lebanon to a complete ban, with effect from Tuesday”, the Wam state news agency reported.
In Riyadh, the foreign ministry issued a statement calling on “all citizens not to travel to Lebanon, for their own safety, and asking citizens residing in Lebanon or visiting not to stay unless extremely necessary,” the official Spa news agency reported.
The travel warnings came days after Saudi Arabia cancelled US$4 billion (Dh15bn) in aid to Lebanon’s security forces.
Saudi Arabia and other Arabian Gulf states asked their citizens to avoid Lebanon in 2012 and 2013. Those travel warnings came at a time when Lebanon was greatly destabilised by Syria’s war, facing bombings, frequent bouts of sectarian fighting and specific kidnapping risks against Gulf nationals.
With Lebanon comparatively stable since late 2014, the latest travel advisories come amid growing tensions between GCC countries and members of Lebanon’s divided government.
Courtesy: The National