Kuwait cautions citizens against approaching Saudi border

New warnings were issued to citizens as camping season begins

Men barbecue at a winter camp close to the border with Saudi Arabia, in al-Julaia, around 70 kilometres (45 miles) from the capital Kuwait City, on January 13, 2017. (Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat / AFP)
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Kuwait’s embassy in Saudi Arabia has cautioned citizens residing in both countries to avoid venturing near the shared border.

As the cooler weather sets in and camping season begins, many Kuwaitis are packing their backpacks for desert outings. Heavy rains earlier this winter have made the expanse of sand particularly appealing to campers and adventurers.

But space is limited in Kuwait, and many locals cross the border in search of open spaces.

Although Kuwait has designated large swathes of unspoilt desert to camping activities, many look for less congested areas close to the buffer zone along the Saudi-Kuwait border.

Saudi Arabia marks its restricted border areas, warning  hikers not to approach. Perhaps driven by the truffle hunting, or simply seeking isolation, some Kuwaitis are ignoring the warning.

“We used to sometimes be able to get through, the desert is much nicer there and I don’t see why that’s a problem if we are there to camp,” said a Kuwaiti man who spent the first half of the public holiday in chalets close to the Saudi border.

Kuwaiti citizens, as part of the GCC, can enter Saudi Arabia and vice-versa with the use of their national identification cards. The border crossing sees thousands of residents travel between the two countries. 

Furthermore, the ease of travel between the two countries helps allow Kuwaiti and Saudi oil industry employees work in the neutral zone refineries, which are slated to re-open in 2019 after years of suspending operations. 

The embassy urged citizens to call the consulate in case of any emergency.


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