Lebanon, particularly its party and shopping capital of Beirut, is a huge holiday and business attraction for residents in the UAE, however travel to the country has now been banned.

Earlier there was travel alert but now the UAE has banned travel to Lebanon, joining Saudi Arabia and Bahrain who are urging citizens to leave Lebanon or avoid travelling there.

The ministry said: “The Foreign and International Cooperation Ministry announced that it had raised its warning situation on travelling to Lebanon to banning travel there … (It) also decided to reduce the members of its diplomatic mission in Beirut to its furthest extent.”

Related Story: “Empower A Woman And You Empower A Society” – Queen Rania 

According to Gulf News, the ministry has also issued a decision to reduce the number of its diplomats in Lebanon. Meanwhile Al Jazeera reported that the surprising decision came after “Riyadh halted US$4bn in aid to Lebanese security forces in response to ‘hostile’ positions linked to Lebanese Shia group Hezbollah.”

Related Story: UAE Voted Happiest Place To Live

The UAE is “in full support” of the decision, blaming Lebanon’s “failure to condemn Iran’s aggression” after Saudi Arabia’s embassy was attacked in Tehran in January.

Baalbek is a popular tourist site in Beirut

Baalbek is a popular tourist site in Beirut

The Saudi foreign ministry said in a statement that “all citizens [should] not to travel to Lebanon, for their safety, and asking citizens residing in Lebanon or visiting not to stay unless extremely necessary”.

Related Story: Girl Power In The Middle East

UAE’s foreign ministry statement said: “The UAE fully supports the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s decision to halt its aid to the Lebanese army and security forces. 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.”

Despite the ban it is believed that Lebanon’s Prime Minister Tammam Salam is keen to maintain a good and healthy relationship with Arab countries.

There is no official ban in place for expatriates living in the UAE.  However, if you are planning to travel to Lebanon or have already booked tickets, check with your travel agency first.


Images: Getty