Riyadh (November 10, 2017): Saudi Arabia has ordered its citizens to leave Lebanon and avoid travel there as tensions between the two countries hits a fever pitch.
“Due to the current situation in Lebanon, the Kingdom has asked its citizens, whether visiting or residents, to leave Lebanon as soon as possible. We also advise citizens not to travel to Lebanon from any international destination,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Thursday.
The development comes after Saudi Arabia accused Lebanon of declaring war on the Kingdom earlier this week, citing the presence of Iranian-backed Hezbollah members in its government. One Saudi official said Hezbollah had committed “acts of aggression” against Riyadh.Hours after Saudi Arabia began urging its citizens to leave Lebanon, Kuwait’s Foreign Ministry released a similar statement. The country is following Saudi Arabia’s footsteps in recommending citizens to leave Lebanon and restrain from traveling to the country.
Kuwait credited “circumstances experienced by Lebanon at the moment” as the reason its government was advising Kuwaiti citizens to leave Lebanon as soon as possible.
On Saturday, Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad Hariri unexpectedly resigned in a televised address from the Saudi capital, creating a political vacuum in an already politically fractured country.
In the resignation speech, Hariri accused Iran of meddling in the region, causing “devastation and chaos.”
Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said a ballistic missile attack intercepted over Riyadh last week was an “Iranian missile launched by Hezbollah from territory occupied by the Houthis in Yemen.” Iran has denied that it was behind the missile attack. Saudi Arabia and Iran are in the throes of a proxy war.