What Happened: The United Arab Emirates has lifted a three-year-old travel ban barring Emirati citizens from visiting Lebanon, Reuters reported Oct. 7. The decision came during a visit by Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri to Abu Dhabi to seek economic aid.
Why It Matters: Lebanon is looking to secure much-needed economic aid, and the United Arab Emirates has previously provided assistance on a case-by-case basis. Emirati concerns over Hezbollah's networks in the region led Abu Dhabi to impose the travel ban in 2016. However, the decision to lift the measure highlights the country's willingness to approach bilateral relations with Lebanon more pragmatically despite Beirut's ties with Tehran and Hezbollah's role in the Lebanese government and security sector.
Background: Lebanon has long had strained relations with countries in the Persian Gulf region, particularly Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Some private companies from the area do have significant investments in Lebanon, although the country's complex politics have created barriers for increased economic ties.
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