BEIRUT: The Lebanese Army tried to allay Arab concerns over travel to Lebanon Sunday, a day after the UAE urged its citizens to refrain from visiting the popular tourist destination.
“The Army’s leadership ... calls on its brothers and friends to visit their second home in Lebanon and stay whenever they wish and assures them that they will receive the highest degree of care and attention,” the Lebanese military said in a statement.
It added that soldiers, along with other security forces, would protect them and carry on with determination with its mission to preserve an “atmosphere of freedom, safety, and stability that the country is enjoying.”
The Army statement came a day after the UAE urged its citizens not to travel to Lebanon.
The request was the second travel advisory warning against travel to Lebanon, the Gulf’s state news agency WAM reported late Saturday.
The advisory said UAE citizens should avoid all non-essential travel to Lebanon, citing "difficult and sensitive political circumstances in the sisterly Lebanon."
The almost two-year conflict in Syria has served a heavy blow to Lebanon’s tourism sector, with recurrent clashes in the north of the country between supporters and opponents of President Bashar Assad.
In July, the UAE along with Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Kuwait warned their nationals against travel to Lebanon after a spate of kidnappings by a Lebanese clan in retaliation for the abduction of one of their own in Syria.
The Meqdad clan threatened to kidnap Gulf citizens as part of their efforts to free their kinsman in Syria.
The advisories also came in response to the fighting in the northern city of Tripoli, where the deadliest clashes over the Syria crisis have been frequent.