World News

Kuwait advises citizens not to visit Lebanon

KUWAIT (Reuters) - Kuwait advised its citizens on Thursday against travelling to Lebanon, citing political problems in the country locked in a constitutional crisis.

The Kuwaiti announcement came shortly after its embassy in Beirut was evacuated, after an international news agency received an anonymous phone call saying two rockets had been fired at the embassy. There was no such attack.

“A foreign ministry source advised citizens to delay plans to travel to Lebanon ... under the present political circumstances,” said a statement carried by the official news agency KUNA.

The move followed a similar rare announcement on Monday by Saudi Arabia, a major backer of Lebanon’s Sunni-led government, which is locked in a political battle with an opposition led by the Shi’ite group Hezbollah, backed by Iran and Syria.

Lebanon, a favourite destination for Gulf Arab tourists, has been without a president since November because of the stalemate, which has led to street clashes between Shi’ites and Sunnis over the past week.

Lebanon’s 15-year civil war ended in 1990 with a peace pact brokered by Saudi Arabia but this has been strained to breaking point since the assassination in 2005 of former prime minister Rafik al-Hariri, a close ally of Saudi Arabia.