US Embassy in Lebanon advises citizens to keep low profile

The embassy urged US citizens to keep a low profile, be aware of their surroundings and review their personal security plans. (Shutterstock)
Updated 16 May 2019
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US Embassy in Lebanon advises citizens to keep low profile

  • The embassy called on US citizens to contact it for help, follow its Facebook and Twitter accounts

BEIRUT: The US Embassy in Lebanon on Wednesday advised Americans to “maintain a high level of vigilance and practice good situational awareness” in view of “heightened tensions in the region.”

In a statement published on its website, the embassy urged US citizens to keep a low profile, be aware of their surroundings, review their personal security plans, and ensure that their travel documents are up to date.

The embassy called on US citizens to contact it for help, follow its Facebook and Twitter accounts, and visit the State Department’s travel website travel.state.gov.

Diplomatic sources told Arab News that the warning has nothing to do with Lebanon, but is related to what is happening in the region.

The embassy had issued a warning to US citizens on March 20 following reports that organizations in Lebanon had called for a demonstration near the embassy to protest the secretary of state’s visit to the region.

Wednesday’s warning came as the acting assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs, David Satterfield, continued his meetings in Lebanon.

He met with President Michel Aoun, Prime Minister Saad Hariri, Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri and Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil.

Lebanon’s National News Agency (NNA) reported that the meeting between Bassil and Satterfield was very positive, and that they discussed developments in the region.


UAE says joint probe into tanker attack ensures impartiality

Updated 29 min 25 sec ago
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UAE says joint probe into tanker attack ensures impartiality

  • UAE says international participation in an investigation into ‘sabotage attacks’ on oil tankers will lead to ‘impartial conclusions’
  • It also indicated the results may take time

DUBAI: The United Arab Emirates said on Wednesday that the participation of several countries in an investigation into last week’s attack on oil tankers off its coast would support the “impartiality and transparency” of the findings.
The Gulf Arab state has not yet blamed anyone for the acts of sabotage on four vessels including two Saudi oil tankers, but a senior UAE official has said Abu Dhabi was concerned about Iranian behavior in the region.
“The keenness of our international partners to participate in the investigation and the concerted efforts support the impartiality and transparency in arriving at results,” the UAE foreign ministry said in a statement carried on state news agency WAM.
US government sources told Reuters they believe Iran encouraged Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi militia or Iraq-based militias to carry out the operation.
Tehran has distanced itself from the attack, which comes as Iran and the United States spar over sanctions and the US military presence in the Gulf region.
The UAE foreign ministry statement welcomed the participation of several “friendly and brotherly” countries in the investigation, but did not name them. It did not give a timeframe, saying the probe would take “the time required.”
UAE officials have said that the United States and France, which has a naval base in Abu Dhabi, were participating in the investigation as well as Saudi Arabia and Norway.
A Norwegian-registered oil products tanker and a UAE fuel bunker barge were among the vessels hit near Fujairah emirate, one of the world’s largest bunkering hubs located just outside the Strait of Hormuz.
UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash has said Abu Dhabi would show restraint after the attack and that it was committed to de-escalation during what he described as a “difficult situation” caused by Iranian behavior in the region.
Saudi Arabia has called for emergency Gulf and Arab summits in Makkah on May 30 to discuss the implications of the tanker attack and an armed drone strike two days later on Saudi oil installations in the Kingdom, for which the Houthis have claimed responsibility.