May 7, 2019 / 10:50 AM / 2 months ago

Ambassador says UAE will soon lift Lebanon travel ban: NNA

BEIRUT (Reuters) - The United Arab Emirates will soon lift a ban on its citizens travelling to Lebanon, Lebanese state media cited the UAE’s ambassador to Lebanon as saying on Tuesday.

“The lifting of the ban on Emiratis travelling to Lebanon will come soon,” Lebanon’s NNA quoted Hamad Saeed al-Shamsi as telling journalists after meeting Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil.

The UAE’s close ally Saudi Arabia said in February it was lifting its own advice to citizens not to travel to Lebanon, where Gulf tourism was once a mainstay of the now struggling economy.

The UAE and Saudi Arabia have both voiced frequent concern over the political situation in Lebanon, located next to war-torn Syria and home to the heavily armed, Iran-backed Hezbollah group.

Lebanon’s armed forces in 2017 ended the presence of Syrian rebel and militant groups that had taken small territorial enclaves in the mountains along the frontier.

The conservative Sunni monarchies regard Iran, a revolutionary Shi’ite theocracy, as their main regional rival and have declared Hezbollah, which holds wide influence in Lebanon, a terrorist group.

Reporting By Angus McDowall; Editing by Catherine Evans

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