Minister of Interior and Municipalities, Bassam Mawlawi, said in a press interview that “it is time to start implementing the required measures and comprehensive reforms, as a step to restore the relationships with the Arab countries.”
Rejecting the notion that Lebanon is used as a platform to attack the “sisterly countries,” he noted that the Arab Gulf states have “always stood by the Lebanese people in the most difficult circumstances.”
He pointed out that what Saudi Arabia is asking for is what Lebanon wants for itself as well, indicating that “these are the Lebanese state’s duties” and “secure the interest of the Lebanese people.”
In that, the Interior Minister focused on the smuggling from Lebanon to the Arab Gulf, specifically Saudi Arabia, which has thwarted numerous smuggling attempts from Lebanon.
Mawlawi expressed his commitment, as Lebanon’s Minister of Interior, to “do what is necessary to prevent the smuggling of drugs and Captagon pills through Beirut International Airport, as well as through all border crossings, whether through the port or land crossings.”
Mawlawi declared as well that he follows all the security reports that are reported to the ministry through the relevant security services, and he mentioned that he will treat it as necessary, in case he perceives any threat for Lebanon or other countries.
The question remains whether stopping the smuggling will suffice to these boycotting countries, considering that their problem with the Lebanese government is “broader” as the Saudi Foreign Minister explained in his recent interview with CNBC.
Smuggling from Lebanon has been a major problem in recent years and is not only related to drugs and the Arab Gulf.
The Lebanese governments have been turning a blind eye to the smuggling operations conducted in the open from Lebanon to Syria, reportedly by Hezbollah.
For the past two years, the Lebanese people have been exposing by videos the smuggling of their essentials, like fuel and wheat and subsidized products, into Syria, with little to nothing done by the successive Lebanese governments.
It is yet to see if the Interior Minister will manage to also put a final stop to these smugglings that have been draining crises-crippled Lebanon.