Jordan Slaps Restrictions on Visitors From Lebanon
Lebanese wishing to visit Jordan will no longer be able to obtain visas at the kingdom’s entry points and will now have to apply for them in advance, said the Daily Star newspaper on Friday.
The move, which was announced Thursday by Jordanian Prime Minister Ali Abu Ragheb, came after the Lebanese government refused to wave visa formalities for Jordanian citizens.
Abu Ragheb, who arrived in Beirut Thursday for a three-day private visit, placed the blame squarely on Lebanon.
“The issue was initiated by our Lebanese brethren,” he said. “In the past, we have taken steps to facilitate the affairs of the Lebanese citizens.”
Jordanian Ambassador Anmar Hmoud told the paper that over the past five years, his country had made repeated efforts to convince authorities here to remove visa restrictions.
“We believe that the whole Arab world should be moving toward smoother integration,” Hmoud said.
Calling the extra formalities a “handicap,” Hmoud said that last September, Jordanian authorities decided to ease visa restrictions for Lebanese. Two types of visas were thus issued for Lebanese visitors: either a one-entry visa available at the airport in Amman and at the land border post at Ramtha, or a six-month, multiple-entry visa issued at the Jordanian embassy in Beirut.
Since then Jordanian authorities have tried to convince authorities in Beirut to reciprocate, even going so far as to contact President Emile Lahoud, said the paper.
These efforts have been to no avail.
According to Hmoud, any Lebanese wishing to travel to Jordan after Aug. 1 will now be forced to apply for a visa at the embassy.
Since the files will have to be sent to Amman, it should take two weeks for regular applications to be processed.
Hmoud also dismissed the claim that Lebanon needed to make a special case with regard to Jordanian citizens of Palestinian origin.
“Security concerns in the Arab world are identical,” he said. “The situation in Lebanon is no different from that in Jordan.”
Lebanon had originally imposed the restrictions in a bid to control the arrival of Palestinians who hold Jordanian nationality.
Although Abu Ragheb is in Beirut in an unofficial capacity, he was met at the airport by Minister of State Beshara Merhej, who was representing Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri. Hariri and the Jordanian premier will meet to discuss political and regional affairs, as well as bilateral relations, Abu Ragheb said.
Describing bilateral relations as “historically exceptional,” the Jordanian premier said he anticipated even more cooperation in the future – Albawaba.com
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