BEIRUT — The United States on Monday urged its citizens in Lebanon to
remain vigilant during the Iranian president's high-profile visit to
the country this week, warning of possible demonstrations and violence.
embassy reminds US citizens that even peaceful gatherings can turn
violent and spread over neighborhoods with little or no warning," the US
embassy in Lebanon said in a statement.
"The embassy therefore
strongly urges US citizens visiting or residing in Lebanon to remain
vigilant, monitor news reports, avoid large gatherings of people, and
carefully consider their safety and security before choosing to visit
popular gathering spots or places where large numbers of people are
commonly found," it added.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
is due in Beirut on Wednesday for a controversial two-day official
visit, the highlight of which will be a tour of the country's southern
border with his arch-enemy Israel.
The region is largely
controlled by the powerful militant group Hezbollah, which fought a
devastating war with Israel in 2006 and is considered a proxy of Iran.
United States and Israel, which are locked in a long-running feud with
Iran over its controversial nuclear program, have voiced concern over
the visit with the Israeli government saying it could undermine regional
Washington last week renewed a travel warning for
Americans seeking to visit Lebanon and those living in the country
especially in light of a political crisis that has prompted fears of
Tensions have been mounting in Lebanon in
recent weeks over unconfirmed reports that a UN-backed tribunal is set
to indict members of the powerful Shiite militant group Hezbollah for
the 2005 murder of ex-premier Rafiq Hariri.
"The Department of
State continues to urge US citizens to avoid all travel to Lebanon due
to current safety and security concerns," it said in a statement. "US
citizens living and working in Lebanon should understand that they
accept risks in remaining and should carefully consider those risks."