Berri announces deal on framework for Lebanon-Israel border dispute talks

Lebanon’s parliament speaker Nabih Berri wears a face shield during a news conference in Beirut, Lebanon October 1, 2020. (Reuters)
Lebanon’s parliament speaker Nabih Berri wears a face shield during a news conference in Beirut, Lebanon October 1, 2020. (Reuters)

Lebanon announced an agreement Thursday on a framework for talks with Israel to resolve a border dispute.
Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri said US representatives and a UN special coordinator for Lebanon will be involved in the meetings.

The meetings – which will also discuss maritime disputes – will be held at a UN base near the border in south Lebanon under UN auspices.

Berri also told a news conference that he had asked French President Emmanuel Macron to press energy firm Total not to delay exploration for gas in the offshore area that runs along the disputed maritime border region.

Berri announced the border talks initiative after US sanctions were imposed on his right-hand man for corruption and financially enabling Hezbollah, the heavily armed group, Iran-backed that Washington deems a terrorist organisation.

Berri made the announcement during a press conference in which he said

The U.S. acknowledges that the governments of Lebanon and Israel are ready to demarcate their maritime and land borders.

Total has promised to begin exploration operations before the end of the year.

The demarcation will help Lebanon economically.

The U.S. intends to exert its utmost efforts to establish a positive and constructive atmosphere between the two parties in order to conclude the negotiations as soon as possible.

The agreement was reached in July

The sea demarcation agreement will eventually be submitted to the U.N.

The U.S. has been asked by the two parties to act as a mediator and facilitator for the demarcation of the border.

Continuous meetings will be held at the U.N. headquarters in Naqoura under the auspices of the U.N. coordinator.

The positive experience of the tripartite mechanism will be relied on.

The negotiations will be carried out by the Lebanese Army.

“This is a framework agreement, and not a final one,” Berri stressed, saying discussions would be held under the auspices of the United Nations

UNIFIL welcomed the announcement of a framework agreement to launch negotiations between Lebanon and Israel on maritime border demarcation, saying it stands ready to extend support.

Arab News/agencies