Reported by Saudi state news agency SPA, a foreign ministry source called on Saudis not to travel to Lebanon because of “the situation” in the country.
– Meanwhile in Lebanon, the FM issued a statement demanding the return of PM Hariri, who they contend is being held in Saudi Arabia.
Both Kuwait and Saudi Arabia on Thursday have urged their citizens to leave Lebanon “as soon as possible,” days after Lebanese prime minister Saad Hariri announced his resignation while visiting the kingdom in a shocking announcement.
A Saudi foreign ministry source, quoted by state news agency SPA, also called on Saudis not to travel to Lebanon because of “the situation” in the country, without elaborating.
“Due to the situation in the Republic of Lebanon, the kingdom asks its nationals visiting or living in Lebanon to leave as soon as possible, and advises its citizens not to travel there,” the source said.
Kuwait followed suit shortly after calling for its own citizens to also leave Lebanon in a statement from the foreign ministry.
The United Arab Emirates has issued a similar warning as well.
On November 4, Hariri announced in a televised speech from Saudi Arabia that he was stepping down, citing Iran’s “grip” on Lebanon and threats to his life.
Meanwhile, the Lebanese foreign minister issued a statement demanding the return of Hariri who remains in the kingdom’s capital.
Lebanon claimed earlier on Thursday that it believes its former Prime Minister is being held against his will according to a senior government official to Reuters, adding that Lebanon is planning to work with foreign governments to secure his release.
The latest development signals a worsening crisis between the Arab nations.
Hariri’s shock announcement raised fears that Lebanon — split into rival camps led by Hariri and the Iranian-backed movement Hezbollah — could once again descend into violence.
Hariri holds Saudi nationality and his wife and children live in the kingdom. He has since met Saudi King Salman and traveled to the United Arab Emirates, according to official media in the Gulf states.
Lebanese President Michel Aoun has said he will await Hariri’s return before taking any decision, while Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah said Hariri’s resignation had been “imposed” by Saudi Arabia.
The resignation coincided with the announcement in Saudi Arabia of an anti-corruption purge in which dozens of princes, ministers and businessmen have been rounded up.
Bahrain, a close ally of Saudi Arabia, advised its citizens against travel to Lebanon a day after Hariri’s announcement.
In the wake of the growing crisis, French President Emmanuel Macron made a surprise announcement to visit Saudi Arabia. Currently in the United Arab Emirates on a debut visit to the Middle East, he will meet with the kingdom’s powerful crown prince on Thursday night and expected to help mediate the return of the Lebanese prime minister.
View original i24NEWS publication at: