The Lebanese Foreign Ministry released a statement Tuesday from the United Arab Emirates announcing that the country would soon lift the travel ban on its citizens to come to Lebanon.
The travel ban has been in effect since 2017 as a result of Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s resignation from Saudi Arabia, which he later withdrew.
Hamad bin Saeed al Shamsi, the UAE ambassador in Lebanon, said that the ban will soon be lifted after a meeting with Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil on Tuesday morning.
Moreover, Minister Bassil urged the UAE to pardon the eight Lebanese citizens who remain detained in the UAE to date.
Back in March, the Human Rights Watch reported that eight Shiite Lebanese were detained under speculation of terrorism and were not allowed legal representation. The Human Rights Watch also reported that these individuals had been held in solitary confinement for over a year without formal charges and denied access to an attorney.
These eight Lebanese had all been living and working in the UAE for more than 15 years. But, the UAE media claimed that they have ties to Hezbollah.
Minister Basil’s official request for pardon was passed on to UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan by UAE ambassador Shamsi.
Overall, the lift of the travel ban could be good news for Lebanon. The economy once flourished due in part to the tourists of the Arab Gulf. In addition, Saudi Arabia has also recently lifted its own travel ban to Lebanon.
We can expect more tourists from these areas, which may help to boost up the economy again with their patronage in Lebanese enterprises during their stay here.
As for the eight Lebanese detainees, their trial has started in February, but we will have to wait and see if they will be allowed to return to Lebanon. No official date has been set for the travel ban lift. However, UAE ambassador Shamsi said that it will happen “soon.”