An optimistic meeting was conducted in Baabda today, in presence of U.S. envoy Amos Hochstein, President Michel Aoun, PM Najib Mikati, and Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri.
Hochstein said that he is very optimistic that a demarcation agreement will be reached in the coming weeks after he returns to Beirut to resume the negotiations.
He added: “I am optimistic that we can make continuous progress and I look forward to coming back to the region and being able to make the final arrangements.”
Hochstein is carrying an Israeli proposal in response to a demarcation offer made by Lebanon last June. This was the envoy’s second visit in less than two months.
Deputy Speaker Elias Bou Saab, who was present as well, said that the gap has narrowed and the time separating us from Hochstein’s return to Beirut with an answer will be short.
“The overall ambiance is positive and everyone was relieved after the meeting,” he added, noting that Lebanon was not asked to give parts of its offshore blocks and that Hochstein did not propose any sharing of resources, blocks, or revenues with the Israelis.
Hochstein later on Monday met with the foreign minister Abdallah Bou Habib who said after the meeting that “great progress has been made in the negotiations” and that “the Lebanese position is unified.”
Hochstein had arrived in Beirut Sunday to push talks to resolve a bitter maritime border dispute between Lebanon and Israel over Mediterranean waters with offshore gas fields.
It’s noteworthy that the maritime border dispute between Lebanon and Israel escalated in early June after Israel moved a production vessel to the Karish field, which is partially claimed by Lebanon.
This urged Lebanon to call the United States for a U.S mediated negotiations on the demarcation dispute.