SMA NEWS – BEIRUT
The US ambassador to Lebanon on Saturday delivered a maritime border demarcation proposal to President Michel Aoun, caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati and Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri.
“Things seem very positive,” Ambassador Dorothy Shea said after separate meetings with the three men.
Shea presented a written message from Amos Hochstein, the US mediator in the indirect negotiations between Lebanon and Israel on the demarcation issue.
A technical team is expected to discuss the content of Hochstein’s 10-page proposal before Lebanon submits an official response next week.
A copy of the proposal was also referred to the Lebanese Army Command for review.
Aoun is keen to resolve the demarcation issue before his six-year term concludes at the end of the month. If the US proposal is approved, an agreement might be signed by the middle of the month.
After Aoun’s initial talks with Berri and Mikati, the three men are expected to meet next week to formulate their response.
Hochstein had promised to present a formula that would bring the points of view closer, especially over the land point from which the line originates, as Lebanon insists on amending it due to the violation of its territorial waters before reaching the exclusive economic zone.
Lebanon has so far rejected every Israeli attempt to establish the “line of buoys” that Israel adheres to as if it were the land border line with Lebanon. Lebanon meanwhile believes that it (the disputed block) lies within Lebanese territorial waters and refuses to discuss the matter.