UAE bans its citizens from travelling to Lebanon
The ban is effective immediately.
The UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs has banned all Emiratis from travelling to Lebanon, starting from this Tuesday February 23.
Until recently there had been a travel alert in place for Lebanon due to safety, but this has now been elevated to a complete ban. The UAE has also decided to reduce its number of diplomats in Lebanon.
There is no official ban in place for expatriates living in the UAE.
“The ministry is currently co-ordinating with the concerned authorities for immediate implementation of this decision,” the ministry said in its statement.
The statement didn’t go into the reasoning behind the decision, but on the same day Saudi Arabia issued a warning for its citizens, urging them not to travel to Lebanon “for their own safety.”
The kingdom also urged all of its citizens who are in Lebanon to leave immediately.
These announcements come on the heels of Saudi Arabia suspending aid to the Lebanese army last week, and halting its Dhs14 billion arms deals with the Lebanese armed forces and internal security forces due to the “hostile” positions of Lebanese Shia group Hezbollah.
According to Emirates state news agency WAM, “The Saudi decision comes after Lebanon declined to support resolutions against Iran during two meetings of Arab and Muslim foreign ministers at the League of Arab States and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.”
The UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs went on to say this in a statement: “At the same time [the UAE] calls upon Lebanon and its people to restore Lebanon to the Arab Nation where it belongs, away from the Iranian influences adopted by the so-called Hezbollah.”
Lebanon’s Prime Minister Tammam Salam has said that Lebanon should maintain relations with Saudi Arabia, saying this after a cabinet session on Monday: “Lebanon will not forget Saudi Arabia’s role … in helping it rebuild the country after the [1975-1990] civil war.”