UAE nationals to be allowed to travel to Lebanon from Tuesday

The move follows a ban that was put in place in 2016

EPWHN2 Beirut, Lebanon
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Emiratis will be allowed to travel to Lebanon from Tuesday, the UAE's foreign ministry said on Monday night.

Khalid Belhoul, undersecretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, said the decision followed talks with the Lebanese government, which gave guarantees about the security of the country's entry points.

The move is expected to strengthen relations between the two countries and lead to many Emiratis visiting Beirut and other cities.

UAE citizens were banned outright from travelling to Lebanon in 2016. That followed a travel warning that was in place since the start of the Syrian war in 2011.

Fear of kidnappings and a spillover from the conflict prompted the travel restrictions then.

Saudi Arabia said in February that it was lifting its advice to citizens not to travel to Lebanon, where Gulf tourism was once a mainstay of the economy.

Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, met Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri in the UAE capital earlier on Monday.

The two leaders discussed ways to boost ties between the nations during talks at Al Bahr Palace.

Mr Hariri arrived in Abu Dhabi on Sunday for a two-day tour, speaking at the UAE-Lebanon Investment Forum.

During the visit he was also welcomed by Sheikh Khalifa bin Tahnoun Al Nahyan, executive director of the Martyrs' Families' Affairs Office. The men toured Wahat Al Karama, Abu Dhabi’s national and cultural landmark to commemorate martyrs. Mr Hariri signed a visitors log, praising the bravery and heroism of Emiratis killed in conflict. ‏

Sheikh Mohamed affirmed the UAE's commitment to bolstering its friendship with its Middle East neighbour and helping to strengthen its security and stability during the high-level meeting.

The two leaders discussed the latest Middle East, GCC, and Arab developments and their repercussions on regional and international security.

Mr Hariri expressed his gratitude to the UAE for its continued support to Lebanon while facing challenges.

The Lebanese leader is looking to find support from Gulf states to help overcome the country’s ailing economy.