Berri confirms to US envoy that Aoun’s stance is the stance of all the Lebanese

Amos-Hochstein-Berripng
Lebanon’s Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri is shown during his meeting at his residence in Ain el Tineh with U.S. envoy Amos Hochstein in the presence of US Ambassador Dorothy Shea
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Lebanon’s Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri announced Tuesday that what U.S. envoy Amos Hochstein heard from President Michel Aoun regarding sea border demarcation is is the unified stance of Lebanon and “agreed on by all Lebanese,” stressing that that Lebanon is “keen on extracting its resources and preserving stability.”

Berri held a 70-minute meeting with Hochstein in Ain el-Tineh.

“The framework agreement remains the best mechanism for indirect negotiations based on its texts, which call for maintaining meetings until reaching the desired results, which in turn would lead to demarcating the border without infringing on Lebanon’s right to drilling,” the Speaker added.

“What is happening right now violates the agreement from one side and also deprives Lebanon of its rights, at a time the Israeli entity is allowed to extract , which jeopardizes peace in the region and aggravates the situations,” Berri warned.

He also emphasized that while Lebanon is “keen on extracting its resources, it is also keen on preserving stability.”

Aoun on Tuesday presented to Hochstein Lebanon’s position as it relates to the disputed maritime border with Israel, the Presidency announced .

A Lebanese official who attended the meetings told The Associated Press that they focused on the disputed area of the Mediterranean and that the additional area Lebanon was pushing for — known in Lebanon as Line 29 — was shelved.

Lebanese media reported ahead of Tuesday’s meetings that Aoun would put forward several proposals, including one which shows readiness to give Israel full control of Karish field in return for Lebanon getting full control the Qana field, part of which stretches deep into the disputed area.

Aoun told the U.S. envoy he hopes that he would return soon to Lebanon with Israel’s response .

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennet criticized the Lebanese leadership, saying on Tuesday that instead of using gas “for the benefit of its citizens, that same leadership is busy fighting with internal and external disputes.”

This Map shows the disputed area in the maritime border between Lebanon and Israel . The area between line 1 and 29 is disputed . While Israel considers line 1 as the border line Lebanon considers line 29 as the border line . The Karish field shown in orange west of lies inside the disputed area , according to the Lebanese side . Lebanon reportedly told visiting US mediator that it is ready to accept line 23 as its border line and give up on its rights in the Karish field in return to full control of the Qana field Energean Power vessel, was built specifically for extraction gas in the Karish field. Its entry into disputed waters has been labeled a dangerous violation of ongoing negotiations over the maritime border dispute.

The dispute over the maritime border is more than a decade old. In 2012, Lebanon rejected an American proposal of getting 550 square kilometers, or almost two thirds of the area, while Israel would have gotten the remaining third.

The offer was known at the time as the “Hoff Line,” after U.S. diplomat Frederick Hoff who was mediating then between the two countries.

AP/Ya Libnna

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