Relationship crisis: Saudi Arabia ordered immediate cessation of imports from Lebanon

Saudi Arabia announced tonight (Friday) that the Lebanese ambassador to Riyadh must leave the country within about 48 hours. At the same time, the state ambassador to Beirut was returned to his country. Hours after the Saudi announcement, Bahrain announced that it too was instructing the Lebanese ambassador to Manama to leave within two days.

The Saudi Foreign Ministry also announced an immediate halt to imports from Lebanon. In response, the Lebanese prime minister said, Najib Mikati, Because he regrets the decision. “We strongly oppose anything that could hurt relations with Saudi Arabia and call on Arab countries to help us get out of the crisis. We will work to repair relations,” he said.

His decision comes after the Lebanese Minister of Information, George Kardahi, Said in an interview before being appointed to the post, that the Houthis in Yemen are defending themselves, accusing Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates of harming Yemen and condemning the military operation against the Shiite-Zaidi terrorist organization. Following this, Saudi Arabia summoned the Lebanese ambassador to the country and expressed “regret over the insults.” At the same time, senior Lebanese politicians have called for Qardahi’s dismissal.

The decision to ban imports is a fatal blow to Lebanon, which is in a severe economic crisis. A report by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) published last July revealed that the devastating recession has left families in Lebanon in a difficult situation in almost every aspect of their lives, with few resources and no access to social support.

It is estimated that more than 30 percent of Lebanese children have gone to bed hungry and skipped meals in the past month. 77% of households do not have enough food or enough money to buy food. In Syrian refugee households, the figure reaches 99%. It also emerged that 60% of households need to buy food on credit or borrow money. The report further found that 30 per cent of children do not receive the primary medical care they need, while 76 per cent of households said they were affected by the huge rise in drug prices.

Among the disturbing data in the report was the fact that one in ten children was sent to work, and 15 percent of the families stopped educating their children. Also, 80 percent said their children have difficulty concentrating on homework – which may indicate hunger or mental distress. The organization has expanded its assistance program to Lebanon to help more children and families and called on national authorities to implement a significant expansion of the social protection network, ensure access to quality education for every child, and strengthen both primary health care and child protection services.

By Editor

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