Saudi embassy 'selling cars' in Beirut as UAE, Kuwait urge their citizens to leave Lebanon
The Saudi embassy in Beirut is "selling its cars", according to local media reports, as tensions escalate between Beirut and Riyadh and its allies, the UAE and Kuwait, who on Friday called on their citizens to urgently leave Lebanon.The Saudi embassy was open as usual on Friday, hours after its foreign ministry advised all its nationals in Lebanon to leave "immediately".
Outside the embassy, a crowd of Lebanese car dealers waited to purchase the embassy’s used cars, which it had announced it was selling, according to local media reports.
"We buy the cars, we fix any problems they might have and then we sell them back," a car dealer told Lebanon's The Daily Star.
On Friday, the UAE followed its long-time ally Saudi Arabia in advising its nationals against travelling to Lebanon and called on those already in the country to urgently leave, according to a foreign ministry statement.
Meanwhile, Kuwait also issued the same warning, adding that it was "a precaution for any negative repercussions" to current tensions, according to a foreign ministry statement.
On Thursday, Saudi Arabia called on its citizens residing or visiting Lebanon to immediately leave.
"Due to the situation in the Republic of Lebanon, the kingdom asks its nationals visiting or living in Lebanon to leave as soon as possible, and advises its citizens not to travel there," a foreign ministry source quoted by the Saudi Press Agency said.
Bahrain, a close ally of Saudi Arabia, had already called on its citizens to leave the country on Sunday, citing "safety considerations".
On November 4, Hariri announced in a televised speech from Saudi Arabia that he was stepping down, citing Iran's "grip" on Lebanon and threats to his life.
The shock announcement raised fears that Lebanon - split into rival camps led by Hariri and the Iranian-backed movement Hizballah - could once again descend into violence.