Friday, January 21, 2011
BEIRUT: Countries with embassies in Beirut revised their travel guidelines for Lebanon in view of mounting tension following the government’s collapse last week.
Australia altered its advice Thursday, urging those travelling to Lebanon to exercise “extreme caution.”
“We strongly advise you to reconsider your need to travel to Lebanon at this time because of the unpredictable security and political situation,” said a statement on Australian’s Foreign Office website. “The situation could deteriorate without warning.”
Following Special Tribunal for Lebanon Prosecutor Daniel Bellemare’s issuance of indictments in the U.N.-backed probe of Rafik Hariri’s assassination, Australia has advised its citizens to “monitor ongoing political developments, in particular relation to the [tribunal]” and “avoid large gatherings or demonstrations as they could turn violent.”
The U.K. also advised citizens to “keep themselves well informed and closely monitor political and security developments,” in the wake of the indictment.
Many major embassies in Lebanon have yet to receive altered travel warnings from their foreign offices, though many have “warden” systems in place, allowing embassy staff to reach citizens in the event of emergencies.
“We have not revised our travel warnings but we ask people to check the latest situation because things are unpredictable,” a German Embassy spokesperson said.
The U.S. Embassy, in spite of media reports suggesting it had changed its Lebanon travel advice, confirmed that no alteration had occurred.
The Italian Embassy had also not received any indication Rome intends to revise its warning. – The Daily Star