RIYADH: The United Arab Emirates, Oman and Kuwait are supporting Saudi Arabia’s recent ban on consignments of fruit and vegetables from Lebanon after a failed attempt to smuggle millions of amphetamine pills embedded in the farm products.
Customs authorities at Jeddah Islamic Port seized more than 7.8 million Captagon pills hidden in a pomegranate consignment from Lebanon – foiling a large drug smuggling operation and leading to nationwide ban.
The respective foreign ministries of Oman and Kuwait released statements saying that Arab states stand by any decision the Kingdom takes in efforts to combat drug smuggling and were calling for regional cooperation in this matter.
The UAE has also expressed its support for Saudi Arabia’s decision to ban agricultural products coming from Lebanon, according state-run WAM news agency.
Lebanon’s fruit and vegetable trade with Saudi Arabia was worth around $24 million per year, according to Lebanese agriculture minister Abbas Mortada.
Beirut has since pledged to take more steps to combat drug smuggling. The import ban however remains in place until the Saudi interior ministry has been assured, as it continues to monitor other products from Lebanon.
Trending tweets on the issue have accused Hezbollah as the organization behind the drug smuggling operation.