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Saudi Arabia warns citizens against travel to Lebanon: Asiri
Saudi Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Awad Asiri is seen in Beirut, Monday, March 5, 2012. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)
Saudi Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Awad Asiri is seen in Beirut, Monday, March 5, 2012. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)
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BEIRUT: Saudi Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Awad al-Asiri confirmed Monday that Riyadh has warned its citizens against travel to Lebanon, citing recent security incidents in the country.

“The decision by the Saudi Foreign Affairs Ministry to warn Saudi citizens against traveling to Lebanon comes as a result of recent incidents of burning of tires, the closing of roads and security incidents in various parts of the country,” Asiri told the National News Agency.

Asiri’s comments came hours after the Saudi Press Agency, quoting a source at the Saudi Foreign Affairs Ministry, reported that the ministry had its citizens against traveling to Lebanon.

Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain have each issued travel advisories warning their nationals not to visit Lebanon and urged those who are in the country to leave, citing recent unrest.

Speaking to the NNA, Asiri described the move by Riyadh as a precautionary measure.

“Given the keenness of Saudi Arabia not to put its citizens in harm’s way and their well being, the kingdom took this precautionary measure to warn it citizens,” he said.

The Saudi envoy also expressed hope that all political parties in Lebanon would exert the necessary efforts to ensure security and stability in the country, “particularly given that Lebanon is dear to the kingdom and enjoys generous and continuous support from [King Abdullah].”

He added that King Abdullah was working “so that there will be positive results to the ongoing dialogue between Lebanese political sides that serves the interest of Lebanon and restores Lebanon’s former glory so that the Lebanese and visitors can be at ease.”

Responding to a question on whether Riyadh’s decision would harm Lebanon’s tourism season, Asiri said: “This decision is not aimed to harm Lebanon but instead to ensure the security for all Saudi citizens which is a top priority for Saudi authorities.”

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