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Lebanese fear Riyadh could turn to sanctions next

Friday, November 24, 2017 - 01:35

In Beirut, many fear Saudi Arabia could spark sanctions, putting further strain on economic ties between the two. As Lucy Fielder reports, the concerns follow the unexpected resignation of Lebanon's prime minister.

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Like many Lebanese businesses, Goodies delicatessen relies on Saudi Arabian custom. But now those vital economic ties are being strained, along with Beirut's relations with Riyadh In the wake of Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri's unexpected resignation earlier this month. The kingdom's already advising its citizens to stay away from Lebanon …and for the Goodies' owners the Halwani Twins that's very bad news. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) AMINE HALWANI, OWNER OF GOODIES STORE, SAYING: "The important thing is that they buy presents to take with them, and in large amounts, by the box. Now the Saudi and Gulf market has gone, and only our Lebanese customers are left." And things could get worse. A lot worse. A hundred and thirty years old and a household name for many in the Middle East, Goodies exports its luxury foods to Saudi Arabia and even has a branch in Jeddah. But their sweet treats might become an unlikely victim of punishing economic sanctions - of the kind already imposed by Riyadh on Qatar. Many Lebanese, including the country's president, think Hariri was coerced by Saudi Arabia into announcing his resignation. And they're braced for further pressure from Riyadh. Riyadh has a history of flexing its economic muscle to force Lebanon to isolate the political and military movement Hezbollah - and its Iranian paymaster - to try to stop them meddling in regional conflicts. Lebanon, one of the world's most indebted countries, relies heavily on money and business from abroad. Unlike Qatar, it clearly lacks the resources to ride out punishing sanctions from its powerful neighbor.

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Lebanese fear Riyadh could turn to sanctions next

Friday, November 24, 2017 - 01:35