A few days apart from the last negotiating station on the demarcation of the maritime border with Israel. Pending the end of the Jewish holidays, the American mediator, Amos Hochstein, is ready to get the latest Israeli response that will allow him to send the draft agreement to Lebanon, and is expected to take place between next Wednesday and Thursday.
Apparently, Hochstein obtained basic approval from Israel regarding the terms of the boundaries of the two sides’ blocs, their coordinates and the confirmation of Lebanon’s right to the entire Qana camp and the absence of any kind of partnership in the business or profit between the two sides, in addition to the latest Israeli response on the so-called safe zone within Lebanese territorial waters.
Said a reference meaning for“news”What happened during the New York meetings resolved several points that made it easier for Lebanon to put the American mediator in an atmosphere of what Lebanon could accept. However, what has created confusion for some time has been Prime Minister Najib Mikati’s pursuit of the idea of bartering, making the safe zone under Israeli sovereignty in exchange for a parallel area that Lebanon would get in depth. in the sea. However, the interventions that took place on multiple levels dropped the idea and things went back to showing the following:
The so-called safe area is located within Lebanese territorial waters, and is currently occupied by Israel, and Lebanon with all its official and political parties is not about to abandon it under any circumstances.
– Any solution to the problem of this area should not be related to land borders at all, and any special measures that may be taken in this area by no means, in any way, affect everything on land, especially the tip of Ras al -Naqoura and point B1.
– Lebanon is ready to discuss frameworks and solutions to make this region free from any military presence, but Israel rejects the idea of a buffer zone, and is part of a proposal put forward by the Speaker of the Parliament Nabih Berri that the region be under the supervisory control of the international emergency forces and neither party approaches it.
– Lebanon is demonstrated by the coordinates that it preserves its full rights in all blocks, and reserves the right to the entire Qana field field, and has nothing to do with any ongoing collateral agreements with Israel by international companies operating in the field.
According to the reference, Hochstein should present a draft proposal that should include a solution to the security zone problem, in line with Lebanon’s refusal to give up anything. The reference estimated that the Israeli leadership would accept proposals that would not stall the project and that Americans and Europeans were making contacts to help Yair Lapid’s government deal with pressure from the Israeli opposition led by Benjamin Netanyahu. She is in charge!
The reference made it clear that after Lebanon has received the written draft, President Michel Aoun will engage in consultations with Presidents Berri and Mikati and with interested forces at the national level in preparation for taking a unified official position which will be communicated to the mediator. American, so that the discussions move to a new phase that will have the title of confirming the agreement in separate meetings to be held in Naqoura.
As is supposed, the Naqoura sessions do not serve to negotiate the articles of the agreement, but rather to confirm and verify them legally, administratively and technically. And that President Aoun will initiate consultations with all parties before forming the delegation concerned with this phase, which should be composed of a specialist in international law and international treaties, as well as military, administrative and technical experts whose job is to verify what is contained in the text of the agreement.
The reference stated that what Naqoura’s meetings will end up with is not a signing ceremony for an agreement between the two sides, and there will be no joint document signed by the two sides, and that Lebanon has informed the American side that it refuses. absolutely to give treaty status to this arrangement, and that what will happen will be a letter signed by it. Lebanon will send it to the United Nations, including the coordinates of its maritime borders and complete economic zones. Israel will also send an identical but separate card. Subsequently, the indirect agreement will be announced, followed by the commencement of works on the ground in the exploration and extraction operations.
In the same context, “Al-Akhbar” learned that the French side has returned and informed the Lebanese official and interested party authorities that Total’s management confirms its commitment to participate immediately upon the announcement of the agreement and that the company will develop a separate work program between Lebanon and Israel, and that there will be nothing joint between the two parties, and that the company is itself responsible for any financial or non-financial settlement regarding what Israel considers its rights in the Qana camp, and that Lebanon is not interested in this dossier, either in form or in terms of profits.
But Total raised the point about the share that the Russian company Novatek owned in the alliance that includes Total along with the Italian Eni, and the French expressed a desire to buy this share, but they heard that there was a proposal from the minister of Energy Walid Fayyad that Lebanon buys the stake in the Russian company AND that the governor of the Banque du Liban, Riad Salameh, has promised to provide the requested amounts, which could create big problems, as President Berri stressed that the possession by the Lebanon a stake in this company would turn into a partner in a company in commercial and non-commercial contact with Israel, which falls into the category of normalization, but in Lebanon, those who think that buying the Russian share and starting to work will increase the value of the company and that Lebanon can sell its stake later to interested parties, in particular to Qatar.
An American show and a betrayal warning
Official sources told Al-Gomhoria that the demarcation dossier is facing a decisive station in the coming days and the atmosphere is more positive than ever.
The sources confirmed that, in the talks held in Washington on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, the Lebanese side felt considerable enthusiasm among the Americans to put an end to this dossier in the near future in the interests of both sides. concerned by delimiting the maritime borders, namely Lebanon and Israel.
The sources revealed that the US side has confirmed that the elements of the agreement are possible and that it will make every effort from its position as mediator between the two sides to reach this agreement very soon.
In the same context, an official at the US Embassy in Beirut allegedly said that the US mediator in the Lebanon-Israel maritime border demarcation file, Amos Hochstein, is continuing his efforts to reach an agreement on the demarcation of the maritime borders, noting that the US administration continues to narrow the gaps between all sides, believes that a sustainable solution is possible, and welcomes the spirit of cooperation on both sides to reach a solution.
The US official added, “Resolving the maritime border dispute is a priority for President Joe Biden’s administration and we firmly believe the deal will provide sustainable stability and economic prosperity for both sides.”
In a related context, responsible Lebanese sources warned of what Israel is doing, in relation to the demarcation file, and told Al-Jumhuriya that, despite assurances received from more than one American and Western level, as well as the United Nations , it is concern for Israel taking any action, aggressive steps, escalation, to put obstacles in the way of any possible border demarcation agreement, and postpone it until after the Israeli elections.
The sources indicated that the matter was communicated to the Americans, who, for their part, stressed that all parties should avoid taking steps or actions that threaten the existing stability in the region. They pointed out that the United States places the demarcation dossier among its priorities and is seeking with the Lebanese and Israeli side to reach a maritime agreement, and what this administration has achieved so far is classified as a tangible positivity that should soon be translated by a public agreement between the two parties.