Kuwaitis return from Lebanon in embassy-arranged chartered flights

BEIRUT: Lebanese protesters rally in downtown Beirut yesterday as hundreds continued to gather for a third day of demonstrations against tax increases and official corruption. – AFP

KUWAIT: The first group of Kuwaiti citizens fleeing the accelerated public protests in Lebanon arrived to Kuwait yesterday afternoon after Kuwait’s Embassy in Beirut urged all Kuwaitis to contact it in emergency cases to arrange their airborne evacuation if needed.

In this regard, Dean of Arab Diplomats and Kuwait’s Ambassador to Lebanon Abdul Aal Al-Qenaie said that as soon as the situations started developing in Beirut, he received direct instructions from Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah to exert all possible efforts in order to ensure the safety of Kuwaiti citizens in Lebanon and secure their safe return as soon as possible.

Qenaie added that a special crisis management cell was immediately formed to work 24/7 at the embassy quarters and Rafiq Al-Hariri international Airport to arrange their flights out. “Evacuated citizens were instructed to gather at the embassy and then escorted by Lebanese military and security forces to the airport,” he explained, noting that Kuwait Airways had chartered additional flights to evacuate citizens in Lebanon.

The Kuwaiti Embassy in Lebanon had called on citizens who are determined to go to Lebanon to wait because of the demonstrations and conflicts there. Citizens in Lebanon must take utmost care and stay away from demonstration areas, the embassy said in a press statement on Friday, urging them to follow security guidelines and contact the embassy on the number 00961071171441, in case of emergency assistance.

Most of Lebanon’s cities and regions witnessed protests, particularly in Aakkar and Tripoli. Lebanon’s National News Agency and television footage confirmed that the protesters barricaded major roads with burning tires. Roads were blocked at the south and in the cities of Sidon, Tyre, Nabatieh, Bint Jbeil, Marjayoun and Hasbaya. Protests have halted most public and private institutions, warning schools and universities to close and banks to shut down. Demonstrators condemned the government measures, especially with regard to new taxes and fees.

By Meshaal Al-Enezi