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.


Iraq offers to mediate in crisis between US and Iran

Updated 51 min 5 sec ago
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Iraq offers to mediate in crisis between US and Iran

  • ‘We are trying to help and to be mediators’
  • The crisis takes root in President Donald Trump’s withdrawal last year of the US from the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers

BAGHDAD: Iraq offered to mediate in the crisis between its two key allies, the United States and Iran, amid escalating Middle East tensions and as Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers steadily unravels.
Iraqi foreign minister, Mohammed Al-Hakim, made the offer Sunday during a joint news conference in Baghdad with visiting Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif.
“We are trying to help and to be mediators,” said Al-Hakim, adding that Baghdad “will work to reach a satisfactory solution” while stressing that Iraq stands against unilateral steps taken by Washington.
In recent weeks, tensions between Washington and Tehran soared over America deploying an aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers to the Arabian Gulf over a still-unexplained threat it perceives from Tehran.
The crisis takes root in President Donald Trump’s withdrawal last year of the US from the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers that capped Iran’s uranium enrichment activities in return to lifting sanctions. Washington subsequently re-imposed sanctions on Iran, sending its economy into freefall.
Trump has argued that the deal failed to sufficiently curb Iran’s ability to develop nuclear weapons or halt its support for militias throughout the Middle East that the US says destabilize the region, as well as address the issue of Tehran’s missiles, which can reach both US regional bases and Israel.
Zarif, who was been on a whirlwind diplomatic offensive to preserve the rest of the accord, insisted that Iran “did not violate the nuclear deal” and urged European nations to exert efforts to preserve the deal following the US pullout.
Speaking about the rising tensions with the US, Zarif said Iran will be able to “face the war, whether it is economic or military through steadfastness and its forces.” He also urged for a non-aggression agreement between Iran and Arab countries in the Gulf.
The mediation offer by Al-Hakim, Iraq’s foreign minister, echoed one made Saturday by Mohamad Al-Halbousi, the Iraqi parliament speaker. Al-Hakim also expressed concern for Iran’s spiraling economy.
“The sanctions against sisterly Iran are ineffective and we stand by its side,” Al-Hakim said.