The agency quoted an Interior Ministry statement as saying that this decision was taken after the authorities noticed the increasing targeting of Saudi Arabia “by drug smugglers that originate in the Lebanese Republic or pass through Lebanese territory, and use Lebanese products to smuggle drugs into the kingdom’s territory.”
She explained that most of the smuggling operations are carried out through shipments “coming to the Kingdom’s markets or with the intention of crossing to the countries neighboring the Kingdom, the most prominent of which is the consignment that is used to smuggle vegetables and fruits.”
The statement indicated that the Saudi authorities had repeatedly contacted their Lebanese counterpart to urge them to take “practical measures to stop these practices towards the Kingdom,” but smuggling operations continued, prompting Riyadh to “prevent the entry of Lebanese vegetable and fruit consignments into the Kingdom or transit through its territory.”
The Saudi Ministry of Interior stated that the ban on the entry of fruits and vegetables will take effect next Sunday morning, “until the concerned Lebanese authorities provide sufficient and reliable guarantees for them to take the necessary measures to stop the systematic smuggling operations against the Kingdom.”
The Ministry of the Interior affirmed that it continues to monitor everything that would target the security of the Kingdom and the safety of its citizens and residents on its territory from the scourge of drugs, whether from the Lebanese Republic or from other countries, and that it will take the necessary measures to address it.
The Saudi decision came hours after the Saudi General Directorate for Narcotics Control announced that it had thwarted an attempt to smuggle 2,466,000 amphetamine tablets, which were hidden inside a pomegranate shipment coming from Lebanon.
And Saudi Arabia has repeatedly announced that it has thwarted drug smuggling operations from Lebanon, which is witnessing the worst economic, financial and living crisis, as the sharp decline in the value of the Lebanese pound against the US dollar has led to the spread of poverty, unemployment, and the erosion of the purchasing power of the Lebanese.
And Hezbollah, whose internal and foreign policies, in addition to the rampant corruption in the country, are among the most prominent causes of the economic collapse, is accused of sponsoring and protecting drug traffickers in Lebanon, as security reports in several countries indicate that it is also responsible for making drugs and shipping them in various ways abroad.