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Today, Monday, US mediator Amos Hochstein arrived in Beirut to hold talks with Lebanese officials on the maritime border issue with Israel over the development of a gas field.
On June 5, Lebanon summoned Hochstein to Beirut following opposition from a London-based energy-powered ship to a gas field off the coast to create a gas field known as the Karish.
Israel says Karish is within its exclusive economic zone, while the Lebanese domain is in disputed waters and should not be developed until the two countries have completed indirect talks to define their maritime borders.
Those talks failed last year after Lebanon expanded its claim area from the so-called “Line 23” border to “Line 29” in an area of about 1,400 square kilometers, including a portion of the Karish field.
To deal with this situation, Hochstein proposed a field transfer at the time, which would form an S-shaped border instead of a straight line, but Lebanon did not officially agree to this proposal, according to official sources.
Officials told Reuters that Hochstein will make his first visit to Lebanon after the pending talks, where he will meet with interim Energy Minister Walid Fayat and Deputy Speaker Elias Bo Chab on Monday. The president’s office said he would meet with President Michael Aun on Tuesday morning.
A few hours before Hochstein’s arrival on Monday, Aoun entertained a group of independent parliamentarians, who stressed that Lebanon Line 29 should remain in its negotiations. But Rep. Mark Dow, who attended the meeting, told Aun MPs that the starting point was “line 29 cannot be stressed.” “President Aun told us that Lebanon did not have the technical basis to make a case for line 29 because previous governments had failed to provide official documents to maintain this position,” Daou told Reuters.
Alain Aun, MP for the president’s independent patriotic movement, said Lebanon would submit a “counter-offer” to Hochstein’s proposal, but did not provide details.
Move the negotiation
In turn, Jonah Vronica, the UN Special Coordinator in Lebanon, announced the United Nations’ readiness to contribute to indirect talks on demarcating the South China Sea.
During his meeting with Lebanese President Michael Awen at the Papua Palace, Fronesca said that the United Nations was “ready to contribute to all that moves to negotiate indirect demarcation of the South China Sea,” his wisdom and “his role in this subtle stage in the history of Lebanon.”
Is there war?
Diplomatic sources, on the other hand, say that the Israelis have raised the bar of extreme rhetoric against Lebanon to the point of threatening war, mainly in relation to the maritime border file talks. Sources told the Lebanese al-Nashra website that “there will be no regular war between Israel and Hezbollah because it will lead to further economic and social collapse on all sides.”
Sources confirmed that “Israel is interested in successfully negotiating with Lebanon to finalize plans to explore and invest in gas in the Mediterranean, while the war will prevent the Israelis from implementing those plans and halting investment plans in the gas and oil fields.” Sources say “security stability is needed, while neither side is interested in opening up futile disputes.”
Yesterday, the Israeli chief of staff threatened the possibility of war with Lebanon, as he pointed out that Israel has identified thousands of targets, including missiles and missiles, to be fired during the war with Lebanon.
He said the Israeli military was “dealing with six fronts on six dimensions and facing a variety of threats.”
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