28 September 2010

US Embassy denies changes to travel advice to Lebanon

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The US Embassy in Lebanon denied media reports that it has altered its travel advice for American citizens in the country.

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The US Embassy has not changed its travel warning to Lebanon, despite media reports to the contrary.

A pan-Arab daily newspaper reported that the US and several European diplomatic missions had changed travel recommendations in the wake of political tensions raised by the ongoing Special Tribunal for Lebanon dispute.

However, the US Embassy said advice to American citizens had not been changed since the last official update on August 30.

“There has been nothing updated in our travel advice and we are mandated to review and revise travel warnings every six months. Our travel warning is very clear in advising our citizens to avoid traveling to Lebanon and that has been the case since 1997,” a US Embassy spokesperson said. 

The US State Department issued a travel warning in March saying the department continues to urge US citizens to avoid all travel to Lebanon due to current safety and security concerns. US citizens living and working in Lebanon should understand that they accept risks in remaining and should carefully consider those risks.

US citizens in Lebanon would be notified by the embassy as soon as any consular travel advice is altered.

The Special Tribunal for Lebanon has been the source of political tension since its formation to find and try the killers of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, who was assassinated in Beirut in February 2005. Twenty-two others lost their lives in the attack.

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