The Saudi ambassador to Beirut on Sunday said his country had seized more than 600 million narcotic pills from Lebanon over the last six years.
“The total of narcotic substances and psychotropic substances brought from Lebanon by drug traffickers and seized [by Saudi authorities] amounted to more than 600 million narcotic pills and hundreds of kilograms of hashish over the past six years,” Walid Al-Bukhari said on Twitter.
The remarks followed Saudi Arabia on Friday announcing an import ban on fruits and vegetables from Lebanon due to suspicions these shipments are used to smuggle drugs.
The ban, set to take effect Sunday, will remain until Lebanese authorities provide sufficient and reliable guarantees that necessary measures have been taken to prevent smuggling, said Saudi authorities.
In previous tweet, Al-Bukhari said “the quantities [of narcotics] that are being thwarted are sufficient to drown the entire Arab world with drugs and psychotropic substances, not only Saudi Arabia.”
The Lebanese Presidency said in a statement that it will hold a meeting on Monday to review the Saudi move as well as discuss measures to address its fallout.
The Lebanese Foreign Ministry earlier instructed security services to do their utmost to prevent smuggling by tightening border security.
Saudi Arabia imports more than 50,000 tons of agricultural crops annually from Lebanon, Ibrahim Tarshihi, head of the Lebanese Farmers and Peasants Association, said in a previous statement.
Lebanon is still trying to form a new government amid differences between Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri and President Michel Aoun.
The Arab country is facing a severe economic crisis, with the local currency losing most of its value to the US dollar.
Streets across the nation have been blocked by protests and rallies regarding the crisis, the worst since the country’s civil war of 1975-1990.