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Kuwait advises citizens to leave Lebanon - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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The Lebanese flag waves from The Lady of Lebanon sanctuary in the Christian Lebanese village of Harissa overlooking the Bay of Jounieh  on September 12, 2012.  (AFP PHOTO / PATRICK BAZ)

The Lebanese flag waves from The Lady of Lebanon sanctuary in the Christian Lebanese village of Harissa overlooking the Bay of Jounieh on September 12, 2012. (AFP PHOTO/PATRICK BAZ)

Beirut, Asharq Al-Awsat—Kuwait has condemned the search of a car belonging to one its embassy staff at a Hezbollah checkpoint in a southern suburb of Beirut last week.

Lebanese officials have responded by saying that the search was an isolated incident caused by an individual error.

Kuwait’s ambassador to Lebanon, Abdulaal Al-Qenae, said on Sunday that the search of the diplomat’s car was “unacceptable, violated his diplomatic immunity . . . and the brotherly relations between the two countries.”

Qenae said: “In light of recent developments in Lebanon, with explosions in a number of areas, some Lebanese parties have taken unofficial unilateral security measures without state permission and without concern for laws and international agreements. This has caused annoyance to citizens and passers-by, including diplomats.”

Meanwhile, Lebanese foreign minister Adnan Mansour said: “The issue was incidental and has been dealt with. We have been informed about a certain event, we have dealt with it appropriately and, due to the security situation in the country, some things happen which are dealt with through diplomatic channels. We respect diplomatic immunity and international agreements that govern diplomatic norms.” He added that “we do not want to give the issue greater importance than it deserves.”

Lebanese interior minister Marwan Charbel, however, said the event was “condemnable and totally rejected by the Lebanese state, and cannot be accepted. If we had been informed, we would have done our duty.”

Charbel told Asharq Al-Awsat that Hezbollah admitted it was in the wrong wrong and that the error would not be repeated. He said: “This issue is condemned and rejected. We are in contact and are coordinating with various Lebanese parties, especially Hezbollah, to resolve this issue.”

He said that “although we encourage citizens to be vigilant, we do not agree with standing at checkpoints and stopping cars, regardless of who owns them, whether ordinary people or diplomats.”

Last week, the Saudi Arabian and Kuwaiti embassies lodged complaints after vehicles belonging to their diplomats were stopped and searched. The occurrence of another incident involving a Kuwaiti diplomat has prompted Kuwait to advise its citizens to leave Lebanon immediately.

Ahmed Issa contributed reporting.