BEIRUT — Saudi Ambassador to Lebanon Waleed Bukhari announced Monday that "the Saudi security warning sent on Friday midnight came in the context of the Ain al-Hilweh events" and that his country "is keen on protecting its citizens wherever they are."
Saudi Arabia called on its citizens to quickly leave Lebanese territory and to avoid approaching areas where there have been armed clashes, the Saudi Embassy in Lebanon said in a statement posted late Friday on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter.
At least 13 people, most of them militants, were killed in fighting that erupted between the camp's mainstream faction Fatah and hardline Islamists on July 29, camp security sources said.
Ain al-Hilweh is the largest of 12 Palestinian camps in Lebanon, hosting around 80,000 of the country's estimated 250,000 Palestinian refugees, according to UNRWA, the United Nations' agency for refugees from Palestine.
A cease-fire reached between the fighting Palestinian factions has been in force since Thursday night.
While receiving a delegation from the "Renewal of the Nation" movement headed by Charles Arbid, Bukhari recalled the "international umbrellas that Saudi Arabia secured for Lebanon, notably the five-states meeting, the Saudi-French-American statement and the French-Saudi summit."
In September 2022, before the end of former President Michel Aoun's term, Saudi Arabia and France released a joint statement stressing the importance of "holding presidential elections on time." On June 16, following a summit between France and Saudi Arabia in Paris, both countries called for ending the presidential vacuum. On July 17, the representatives of the so-called Group of Five, which includes France, the US, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Egypt, met in Doha to discuss the Lebanese crisis.
Bukhari said that Saudi Arabia "was and will be one of the most important supporters of tourism in Lebanon, and the coming period will prove that if the Lebanese succeed in solving their crisis."