Saudi Arabia on Tuesday warned its nationals against travel to Lebanon and the UAE banned its citizens from traveling to the Arab country.
The Saudi Foreign Ministry issued a statement calling on “all citizens not to travel to Lebanon, for their safety, and asking citizens residing in Lebanon or visiting not to stay unless extremely necessary,” the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.
The UAE also announced that it was banning its citizens from traveling to Lebanon and reducing its diplomatic mission there, according to WAM.
“The Foreign and International Cooperation Ministry announced that it had raised its warning situation on traveling to Lebanon to banning travel there … (It) also decided to reduce the members of its diplomatic mission in Beirut to its furthest extent,” the ministry said in a statement said.
The news comes after Riyadh cut $4 billion in military aid to Lebanon over Beirut’s failure to back the Kingdom in its spat with Iran, the leading backer of Hezbollah.
Addressing a news conference on Tuesday, Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Awad Assiri also urged Beirut to hold on to its “Arabness.”
He held the press conference after meeting with Lebanese religious delegations that visited the Saudi embassy in Beirut to express solidarity with the Kingdom.
The ambassador said the visit reflected “the Lebanese peoples’ love for Saudi Arabia and desire to maintain close relations between the two countries”.
Assiri said that “those who seek to harm these relations don’t represent the Lebanese people or Lebanon”, going on to assert that “a certain Lebanese group is working against the interests of its country”.
He called on Lebanon and its people to “return to the Arab fold”.
Assiri said Riyadh is also vigilant to keep Lebanon’s security and sovereignty safe.
In a statement Monday, Lebanese Prime Minister Tammam Salam insisted Beirut stands by Arab countries.(AGENCIES)
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