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 said earlier during its participation in the international conference for Lebanon’s Support, saying that any support given to the present or future administration is dependent on it completing 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.
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.
According to Al-Ekhbariya TV and a foreign ministry statement, Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister said on Wednesday that the Iran-backed Hezbollah group’s insistence on imposing its will on Lebanon was a main cause of the country’s crisis.
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.
After a reported increase in drug smuggling from Beirut, Saudi Arabia banned the import of Lebanese fruits and vegetables in April.
The move comes after Saudi Customs foiled an attempt to smuggle over 5 million Captagon pills into Lebanon through fruit imports.
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.
Following Hezbollah’s steady rise and increased influence over the state and its institutions, relations between Beirut and Riyadh have soured in recent years. Hezbollah continues to back Yemen’s Houthi militia, which attacks Saudi Arabia and its citizens on a daily basis.
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