Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain have urged their citizens to leave Lebanon or avoid travelling there, amid deteriorating political ties between Riyadh and Beirut.
On Tuesday they called 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 move on Tuesday came after Riyadh halted $4bn in aid to Lebanese security forces in response to “hostile” positions linked to the Lebanese Shia group Hezbollah.
On Wednesday Kuwait and Qatar also called on their their citizens to leave Lebanon or avoid travelling there.
Press TV reports:
Saudi Arabia suspended a $3-billion package to the Lebanese army and a remainder of $1 billion in aid to its internal security forces on Friday.
On the same day, a senior Saudi official said the kingdom was making “a comprehensive review of its relations with the Lebanese republic.” The Saudi authority said that they have noticed “hostile Lebanese positions resulting from the stranglehold of Hezbollah on the State.”
Reacting to the halt in Saudi aid to the Lebanese military, Hezbollah said in a statement that the decision by the Saudi regime to suspend its aid to the Lebanese army exposes the real face of Saudi Arabia and refutes its claims about fighting terrorism. Hezbollah said Riyadh’s decision is merely a political maneuver.
The $3-billion package was provided to Lebanon to buy military equipment from France.
The decision comes following recent victories by the Syrian army, backed by Lebanon’s Hezbollah resistance fighters, against the Takfiri militants fighting to topple the Damascus government.
Hezbollah fighters are also fighting against the Daesh and al-Qaeda affiliated al-Nusra Front terrorists on the outskirts of the Lebanese town of Arsal, located on the border with Syria.
Hezbollah’s leaders have accused Saudi Arabia of funding and arming terrorist groups operating across the region.