Govt. Fails to Enforce New Visa Rules on Gulf Citizens as Salam Vows to Confront 'Terror Scheme'

إقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية W460

The Lebanese government failed on Thursday to enforce stronger entry measures against Gulf citizens after the involvement of Saudis in terrorist activities in the country, as Prime Minister Tammam Salam vowed to confront the “fierce, immoral and inhumane terrorist campaign.”

The cabinet members discussed the visas issue during a session held at the Grand Serail after As Safir newspaper reported that the authorities were mulling to force Gulf citizens to apply for visas at Lebanese missions in their countries rather than getting the visas upon their arrival in Beirut.

Such a measure would be based on reciprocity because Lebanese citizens are required to apply for visas at the consulates of the Gulf countries in Beirut, the daily said.

As Safir added that the move would obstruct the possible entry of suspected terrorists to Beirut and provide security for tourists wanting to visit Lebanon.

Ahead of the cabinet session, Justice Minister Ashraf Rifi said there was no need to impose the visa rules.

“If the issue was put up to vote in the cabinet, it should also include Iranian citizens,” said Rifi who is a member of the March 14 alliance's al-Mustaqbal movement that opposes Iran-backed Hizbullah.

Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq, also an al-Mustaqbal member, said the rules were “out of the question.”

“We are keen on our ties with the Gulf Cooperation Council,” he said.

Saudi Ambassador Ali Awadh Asiri told LBCI, however, that Riyadh respects the decision of the Lebanese authorities if they decided to impose visa rules on Saudis.

At a press conference after the cabinet session, PM Salam said “we need all people, especially citizens from the Gulf region."

"It is our duty to boost our preemptive measures to prevent the infiltration of anyone seeking to harm our country," he added.

“The citizens' awareness and intuition is complementing the work of security agencies,” Salam said, adding that “there is a fierce, immoral and inhumane terrorist campaign against the country and they want to undermine our national unity.”

But the premier reassured that “the issue of preserving the atmosphere of national unity is in our hands, not in the hands of these criminals.”

“We are foiling their objectives and this enhances our internal unity and we're determined to continue all measures that boost this confrontation,” said Salam.

“The measures and the steps required to preserve the country's security will not stop and I salute all security agencies over this preemptive effort, which is thwarting strife plots in the country,” the PM added.

Criticizing the extensive media coverage of the latest security incidents, Salam urged media outlets to “be careful in covering these security incidents,” saying it is not in the country's interest to “expose all things to this extent.”

Turning to the mechanism of cabinet's work during the presidential vacuum, Salam said: “Nowadays, the cabinet's permanent mission is facilitating the work of the executive authority in the country, but today it has assumed presidential powers.”

“We're always urging everyone to exert all efforts to elect a president. We won't engage in disputes over managing our responsibilities as every issue must be subject to consensus among the government's components and political forces complied with this,” the PM added.

“We discussed the agenda and adopted the issues that enjoyed consensus. I sought with all political forces to endorse consensus in practicing our role and jurisdiction and we will put aside any issue that does not enjoy consensus in cabinet,” Salam stated.

He said some agenda items require decrees and others do not require such an authorization.

“This also applies to normal decrees that are not on the agenda, which will be discussed during the sessions and the signatures will be made through consensus,” said Salam.

“Some might say that these decrees can be appealed but we're trying to grant them the highest level of legitimacy. We're keen to facilitate the issues that have to do with citizens' affairs,” he pointed out.

“Decrees will be issued as usual and we'll seek to facilitate the work of cabinet and all state administrations,” Salam said, adding that “things will be endorsed through consensus” or through a vote in absence of unanimity.

Several suicide bombers who have struck areas across Beirut have had Gulf citizenship.

On Wednesday, a Saudi blew himself up in his room at Duroy Hotel, located in Beirut's Raouche seafront, as General Security officers raided the premises.

They detained a second suspected Saudi bomber in the sweep. A third person is on the run.

A string of security incidents over the past week has rattled Lebanon, and Beirut in particular, after what had been a calm and stable stretch of several months.

On Monday, a suicide bomber blew himself up near a checkpoint in Beirut's Tayyouneh area, killing a General Security officer.

Another bombing in eastern Lebanon's Dahr al-Baydar area last week killed a police officer.



Comments 23
Missing moonsear 26 June 2014, 07:51

That's fantastic news and long is time for others to feel the shame we have to go through when applying for visas

Missing saudi 26 June 2014, 14:53

Rifi says, such restriction should be on Iranian too.
Mr. Rifi, this measure is taken not because Lebanese hate Gulf people. This measure is to prevent Lebanon from terrorists.
For the last century, suicide bombing and terror, targeting work-goers, was committed by Sunni-Wahabbis not by Shiaa or Alwaites.
Except against Israel interests, 100% of suicide bombers were Sunnis-Saudi Inspired.
I understand your frustration Rifi but unless you convert yourself to different religion, you are stuck with this culture. Ooop you can not convert, you will be targeted by your people.

Missing cedars 26 June 2014, 16:32

@Saudi, try again with some historical data this time, the first suicide bombers were trained by the Iranian republican guards and executed by Hizbollah in 1980s in/from Lebanon.

Default-user-icon H (Guest) 26 June 2014, 08:00

Great News, it was time...

Missing karim.. 26 June 2014, 08:24

Excellent, excellent news. This is long overdue, especially since many terrorists are Khalijis.

Thumb saturn 26 June 2014, 09:35

And this will help how? We scan the visa application for traces of explosives? Or maybe by looking at the size of the beard?

Missing moonsear 26 June 2014, 09:40

according to reciprocity they should be allowed: (the map is wrong)

Missing moonsear 26 June 2014, 09:42

this is absolutely not true, it is just because of pure racism especially that Lebanese integrate quite well in the countries they immigrate to.

Thumb kanaandian 26 June 2014, 09:43

these people should also not be able to easily access canada without proper scrutiny - the gulf arabs, primarily the qatari and saudis, are the worlds two top sponsors of islamist terrorism on a global scale.

Thumb kanaandian 26 June 2014, 09:45

the reason it's not reciprocal is because lebanese may not return to lebanon.

Missing lqu7 26 June 2014, 10:40

Finally, this is a positive step in the right direction.

Default-user-icon Jovian Lambozo (Guest) 26 June 2014, 10:41

I have a better suggestion: let them in, drive them straight to prison and then to meat chopper.

Default-user-icon dddd (Guest) 26 June 2014, 11:29

enforcement of visas when u dont have borders? swell!

Thumb Mystic 26 June 2014, 13:13

Very good plan, enforce it as quickly as possible.

Default-user-icon hanoun (Guest) 26 June 2014, 14:16

treat gulf citizens the way gulf countries treat Lebanese citizens
as simple as that

Default-user-icon mazen (Guest) 26 June 2014, 14:18

Visa do not help! As Lebanese government visa procedures are still those of the 19th century. The process will just irritate and make it inconvenient to travel to Lebanon. I suggest that our government. instals iris scanners, and starts taking finger prints of all foreigners entering the country. Syrians included. This is a procedure in many countries now. We collect a data base of all those visiting our country. The Visa of the 21st century is e-visa. online application, after which the applicants data is searched in the data banks of the surete seconds actually, and the ok is given to travel online, and in a matter of minutes. Iris scans and finger prints must be introduced immediately!!

Missing lqu7 26 June 2014, 14:48

Ok, so now the article has changed and it's been updated that the plan failed. Thank you Rifi and Mashnouq for showing your true, sectarian, and foreign master colors.

Default-user-icon hanoun (Guest) 26 June 2014, 14:57

treat gulf citizens entering Lebanon the same way gulf countries treat Lebanese citizens
naharnet admin is something wrong with what am saying

Thumb cedre 26 June 2014, 15:05

please khalijis, go to turkey, it's better, cheaper and safer.
Nobody will look at u scornfully coz u're called Omar or have a beard.
Go spend ur money elsewhere, and let this country plunge into poverty...
Lebanese sunnis avoiding lebanon, so sunni khalijis should do the same, let lebanon to the pro-Khamenei and pro-Assad scum...

Thumb cedre 26 June 2014, 18:21

no because they finance our economy, our army, our people.
If I was saudi, i would go to turkey, morocco, US or malaysia...
Please M8, block khalijis, show us u have some balls...

Thumb FlameCatcher 26 June 2014, 15:38

This is stupid.

1- Rejecting them at the airport or the embassy is the same. Authorities won't have much more "info" about potential terrorists whether they apply in an embassy or at the customs.

2- Applying reciprocity is a must but may kill badly needed tourism. Oh I forgot, Hezbollah handles killing tourism every year with their wars, fights and open invitation to the region's forces to attack our country

Default-user-icon Bint Jbeil (Guest) 26 June 2014, 16:41

It wont happen, unfortunately we are accustomed to bending our backs and prostituting ourselves to foreign countries. We need to implement a policy of recipocity and it is no coincidence that the overwhelming majority of terrorists are either Saudi/Gulf nationals or are financed by that part of the region.

Missing 7alesh 27 June 2014, 08:14

haha Frankenstein...."dance on your grave and pass out baklewa" truly personalize how retarded and freakish your community has become and what low life hooligan outlaws its producing.