In an attempt that is only aimed at intimidating Lebanese, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Kuwait on Thursday urged their citizens to leave Lebanon “immediately” and to avoid traveling to the country.
Saudi Arabia’s official news agency SPA quoted a source in the foreign ministry on Thursday as saying: “Due to the situations in the Republic of Lebanon, the official source at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that the Saudi nationals visiting or residing in Lebanon are asked to leave the country as soon as possible.
“The Kingdom advised all citizens not to travel to Lebanon from any other international destinations.”
Only hours later, the UAE, Bahrain and Kuwait also urged its nationals to leave Lebanon immediately.
The move comes less than a week after PM Saad Hariri offered his resignation from Riyadh in a surprise step. Observers say that controversial circumstances surrounding Hariri’s resignation indicate that Hariri was forced to resign a day after he was surprisingly summoned by Saudi regime.
Hariri’s whereabouts are now unknown with some media reports said that he is likely held by the Saudi regime in Riyadh.
Lebanese President Michel Aoun refused to accept Hariri’s resignation, stressing he is waiting to meet him and know his real stance over the issue.
Also on Thursday, Reuters news agency quoted a high ranking Lebanese official as saying that the Lebanese authorities believe Hariri is held by Riyadh and are tending to ask foreign countries to press Saudi over his immediate return to Lebanon.