The UAE has put a ban on all of its national citizens from travelling to Lebanon as a result of growing tensions between GCC states and Lebanon’s divided government.

The UAE’s Wam state news agency has reported that the UAE’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation is upgrading “the travel warning to Lebanon to a complete ban, with effect from Tuesday [23 February]”. They also announced a reduction in diplomatic staff present in Beirut.

This ban comes just days after Saudi Arabia called on its citizens to leave “for their own safety”, with the government in Riyadh also cancelling $4bn (AED15bn) in aid to Lebanon’s security forces.

The Saudi foreign ministry urged “all citizens not to travel to Lebanon, for their own safety,” and asked “citizens residing in Lebanon or visiting not to stay unless extremely necessary,” the official Spa news agency reported.

The government in Riyadh has been critical of the Lebanese foreign ministers refusal to endorse Arab League and Organisation of Islamic Cooperation statements condemning mob attacks on Saudi diplomatic missions in Iran in January.

The UAE has banned travel to Lebanon previously in 2012 and 2013, at a time of heavy unrest and destabilisation due to the war in Syria.