UAE to reopen Lebanon embassy following end of diplomatic spat

UAE to reopen Lebanon embassy following end of diplomatic spat
In 2021, UAE diplomats in Beirut were ordered to leave after a row which erupted following comments made by the former information minister on Saudi Arabia and the UAE's role in Yemen.
2 min read
06 October, 2023
in Abu Dhabi, Mikati and bin Zayed discussed bilateral ties and ways to enhance development in Lebanon [Getty]

The United Arab Emirates announced on Thursday that it will reopen its embassy in Lebanon, following an almost two-year closure triggered by a diplomatic rift.

The Emirati President Mohammed bin Zayed and caretaker Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati announced they would take the necessary measures to reopen the UAE's embassy in Beirut, during a meeting at Al Shati Palace in Abu Dhabi, according to the UAE's official WAM news agency.

The two leaders also agreed to establish a joint committee to to start the process of issuing UAE entry visas for Lebanese nationals.

Bin Zayed said that the UAE supported Lebanon’s "unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity".

He added that he wanted Lebanon to enjoy "stability, security and prosperity" and to see "development that meets the aspirations of its people".

Mikati expressed his appreciation for the UAE's "consistent support" to Lebanon.

The two leaders also discussed ways to enhance bilateral relations and strengthen economic cooperation between Abu Dhabi and Beirut.

Live Story

Lebanon has faced an economic and political crisis since 2019, largely blamed on years of corruption and mismanagement by the country's political elite.

The Lebanese lira’s value has plummeted with an almost 99 percent drop in value from the exchange rate three years prior. Poverty levels are also high, with 80 percent of the population living under the poverty line.

In October 2021, Abu Dhabi recalled its diplomatic staff from Lebanon amid a diplomatic crisis over comments made by former Lebanese Information Minister George Kordahi about Saudi Arabia and the UAE’s involvement in the Yemen war.

In an interview in August that year, Kordahi said that the Houthi rebels were "defending themselves against foreign aggression by [the Arab Coalition]".

The UAE also banned its citizens from travelling to the Levantine country. Other Gulf countries, such as Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain made similar moves - such as expelling Lebanese envoys from their countries.

Abu Dhabi also prohibited the issuing of visas to Lebanese nationals wishing to enter the country, though the ban was lifted in June this year, as the diplomatic row eased.