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Beirut, March 11 – Lebanese caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati said his country will prevent drug trafficking to Gulf nations in order to ease Beirut’s strained ties with them because of the problem.
Lebanon is committed to protecting its security and the security of brotherly and friendly countries by preventing the exporting of any prohibited items to “our brothers who have never abandoned Lebanon”, Mikati was quoted as saying in an official statement.
“At the forefront of these countries is the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” he added.
Mikati’s remarks came during a roundtable discussion organised by the Beirut government in cooperation with the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to discuss activating supply chain security in Lebanon as part of the government’s plan to combat drug trafficking and smuggling through ports.
The Prime Minister said by examining the exported and imported containers and ensuring that they are safe, Lebanon will be able to restore the full movement of its exports, especially fruits and vegetables, to the Arab markets, namely the Gulf countries.
Cristina Albertin, the UNODC regional representative in the Middle East and North Africa, said the Container Control Program of the UN body seeks to build the capacities of member states to improve their ability to manage risks, maintain supply chain security and facilitate trade at seaports, airports and border crossings to prevent cross-border crime and smuggling of illegal goods across borders.
Lebanon’s relations with Saudi Arabia were strained after the kingdom decided on October 29, 2021 to ban all Lebanese imports, following an incident in which the Saudi customs found 5.3 million captagon pills hidden inside pomegranates imported from Lebanon.