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Lebanese Government Shutting Down ‘illegal Ports of Entry’

March 4, 1983
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The Lebanese government is shutting down “illegal parts of entry” to end the evasion of customs duties and other regulations by Lebanese importers, it was reported from Beirut today.

The crackdown, officially aimed against smuggling, is also intended to slow down the import of goods from Israel. Arab countries, particularly Saudi Arabia which is Lebanon’s principal trading partner, have complained that Israel is dumping its goods into Lebanon from where they could infiltrate into other Arab countries which maintain a boycott of Israel.

According to the reports from Beirut, the government warned owners of illegal goods that they have one month to declare their products to customs authorities or risk prosecution. It has also warned shipping companies of possible legal action if they defy the order shutting down illegal ports.

Lebanon’s ports, including Beirut harbor, the country’s main port of entry, have been under the control of private armies since the civil war began in Lebanon in 1975. Invading Israeli forces drove leftist militias from the ports of south Lebanon last summer.

These ports are now controlled by Israel-sponsored or other rightwing groups which use the revenues gained for their own purposes at the expense of the Lebanese treasury, Lebanese rightist militias have also controlled Beirut harbor and ports north of Beirut which the Lebanese army is now reportedly shutting down.


In other developments, the Israeli-Lebanese-U.S. negotiators held their 20th session in Netanya today aimed at agreement on security and mutual relations between Israel and Lebanon. Avi Pazner, spokesman for the Israeli delegation, stressed that whatever agreements are reached, all points must be put down in writing.

A spokesman for the Lebanese delegation said after today’s meeting that his delegation is, for the first time, optimistic over the chances of reaching an agreement. He said that Lebanon might agree to allow Israeli forces to enter south Lebanon for periodic inspection tours after the Israeli army has withdrawn. The inspection tours apparently would be conducted jointly with the Lebanese army.

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