Political dispute affecting travelers

3 Mar 16

GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL, LEBANON

IMPACT – MEDIUM

What is the change? Countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council have warned their citizens against traveling to Lebanon, and are deporting some Lebanese nationals, particularly Shiite Muslims.

What does the change mean? Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have urged their citizens not to travel to Lebanon except in emergencies. Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have begun deporting some Lebanese nationals.

  • Implementation time frame: Immediate and ongoing.
  • Visas/permits affected: All visas.
  • Who is affected: Lebanese nationals, especially Shiite Muslims, and nationals of Gulf Cooperation Council states.
  • Business impact: The travel bans will disrupt business travel and may require existing Lebanese nationals working in GCC countries to leave.

Background: Political tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran worsened at the beginning of the year when Saudi Arabia executed a well-known Shiite leader, and protesters in Iran responded by setting fire to the Saudi Embassy in Tehran. The countries severed diplomatic ties in January.

In February, when Lebanon did not join a resolution condemning the embassy attack, Saudi Arabia canceled $4 billion in military aid to Lebanon. GCC countries have supported their co-member, Saudi Arabia, in the dispute. The United Arab Emirates also reduced its diplomatic staff in Beirut. The GCC comprises Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

BAL Analysis: GCC nationals and Lebanese nationals should be aware of the political tensions and anticipate difficulties in traveling between respective countries.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Lebanon. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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