Saudi Arabia says any support to Lebanon depends on carrying out serious reform

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Saudi Arabia voiced its support for the Lebanese people during a cabinet meeting overnight Tuesday but warned that any aid would not be allowed to reach corrupt officials.

The Kingdom restated what it had affirmed earlier during its participation in the international conference for Supporting Lebanon adding that any assistance provided to the current or future government depends on it carrying out serious and tangible reforms.

“It must be ensured that aid reaches those who deserve it and avoiding the mechanisms that enable the corrupt to control the fate of Lebanon,” the statement released by Saudi Press Agency added.

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This comes after Hezbollah and its allies nearly took Lebanon to war last week at a time when the country is facing unprecedented crises on all fronts.

Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister said on Wednesday the insistence of the Iran-backed Hezbollah group on imposing its will in Lebanon was a main reason for the country’s crisis, according to Al-Ekhbariya TV and a foreign ministry statement.

Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud also said Riyadh was concerned that no tangible results had been reached in investigations into the Beirut port explosion that devastated swathes of the capital a year ago. He said any assistance to Lebanon would be linked to serious reforms there.

Saudi Arabia has previously banned the import of Lebanese fruits and vegetables in April after a reported increase in drug smuggling from Beirut.

The move came after Saudi Customs foiled an attempt to smuggle over 5 million pills of Captagon stuffed inside fruit imported from Lebanon.

Captagon is used by fighters at war because of the effects it can have to fight tiredness. It is an amphetamine that has widely been made and exported illegally from Lebanon.

Ties between Beirut and Riyadh have soured in recent years following the steady rise of Hezbollah and its increased influence over the state and its institutions. Hezbollah continues to support Yemen’s Houthi militia, which attacks Saudi Arabia and civilians inside the Kingdom almost daily.

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