The Cradle
US envoy meets Lebanese president to discuss Lebanon-Israel maritime border talks
Hochstein's visit to Lebanon comes a week after he traveled to Israel to mediate between Beirut and Tel Aviv
By News Desk - February 09 2022

Lebanese President Michel Aoun. (Photo credit: Dalati Nohra via AP)

The US envoy to Lebanon, Amos Hochstein, met with the Lebanese president and prime minister during a visit to Beirut on 9 February.

According to Russia Today, Lebanese President Michel Aoun met with the US envoy in his office in Beirut to discuss the demarcation of Lebanon’s maritime borders.

The meeting, which was also attended by the US ambassador to Beirut and the Lebanese foreign and energy ministers, reviewed the negotiation process and the agenda of the forthcoming US-mediated talks between Lebanon and Israel.

Later in the day, Hochstein also met with Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati to discuss the upcoming border demarcation talks.

Hochstein, who traveled to Israel last week, arrived in Beirut on 8 February.

At a press conference upon his arrival, Hochstein pointed out that the obstacles to progress in the border demarcation talks have been largely removed.

Lebanese–Israeli talks on the US-mediated demarcation of water borders have been stalled since 4 May last year due to disagreements over plans.

Israel’s energy minister said last month that Israel was ready to resume talks but would not allow Beirut to dictate terms to Israel.

At the beginning of the talks, the assignment of 860 square kilometers of disputed waters was to be determined according to the UN map, but Lebanon later determined this plan was unacceptable and asked for the consideration of another 1,430 square kilometers to be added to the talks.

The discovery of gas reserves in the eastern Mediterranean, which could transform the economies of the countries overlooking it, has prompted Lebanon to delineate its borders with Israel in order to facilitate investment in gas extraction.

Preparations for the talks were made by Nabih Berri, and the talks will take place with the mediation of the United States, and without the direct confrontation of the Lebanese and Israeli delegations.