Saudi Arabia announced that it will ban fruit and vegetable imports from Lebanon, hours after a large drug shipment from Lebanon was seized at a Saudi Arabian port.
According to the state-run Saudi Press Agency, the decision to ban fruit and vegetable consignments from Lebanon from entering or transitioning through Saudi Arabian territory will take effect at 9 AM on Sunday, April 25th.
It will remain in force until the concerned Lebanese authorities provide “sufficient and reliable guarantees to take the necessary measures to stop the systematic drug smuggling operations against the Kingdom,” the Saudi Arabian Interior Ministry said on Friday.
“The concerned authorities in the Kingdom have noticed that it is increasingly being targeted by drug traffickers that originate in the Lebanese Republic or pass through Lebanese territory,” the Ministry said.
It also noted that Lebanese products are being used to smuggle drugs into Saudi Arabian territory, “either through the incoming consignments to the Kingdom’s markets or with the intent to cross over to the countries neighboring the Kingdom.”
The most notable of such consignments are fruits and vegetables, the Ministry indicated.
Earlier on Friday, the Saudi Arabian authorities announced the interception of an attempt to smuggle nearly 2.5 million amphetamine pills concealed in a pomegranate shipment.
In addition to protecting the Kingdom’s people, the decision came due to a lack of measures taken to stop these operations by the Lebanese side, “despite numerous attempts to urge the concerned Lebanese authorities to do so,” explained the Interior Ministry.