Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri announced his country’s readiness to “defend the borders if they are threatened,” saying: “The file of demarcating the southern maritime borders is in the American court.”
In his speech, Berri said, “With regard to the border demarcation file, we confirm that the ball is now in the American court, and we are not war enthusiasts, but we will be in the position of defending these borders,” adding: “We are waiting for the answer of American negotiator Amos Hochstein.”
He continued, “We affirm that our borders and sovereignty as our honor do not negotiate and we will defend them with all our capabilities,” stressing “his country’s readiness for indirect negotiations, but not indefinitely.”
And Israeli political sources said, yesterday, Wednesday, that the American mediator, Amos Hochstein, will return next week to Beirut, the first of Aviv, to complete the agreement demarcating the maritime borders between the two countries, according to Hebrew media.
The Hebrew newspaper also quoted unnamed sources as saying that Hochstein arrived in Paris today to hold talks with President Emmanuel Macron about the role of the French drilling company Total, which is supposed to drill in the disputed field between Israel and Lebanon.
Also, “Total Energy” had previously signed an agreement with Lebanon to explore in Area No. 9 in the disputed Mediterranean waters with Israel.
The White House had announced that US President Joe Biden had assured Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid in a phone call the importance of concluding negotiations on the maritime borders between Israel and Lebanon in the coming weeks, according to the newspaper.
In late July, the US mediator toured Israel and Beirut in an attempt to convey proposals and bring views closer to reach an agreement to end the maritime conflict.
Negotiations between Lebanon and Israel to demarcate the maritime borders mediated by the United States began in 2020, where Lebanon initially announced its possession of about 860 square kilometers (332 square miles) of water, but modified the offer to include an additional 1,430 square kilometers that includes part of the Gazkarish field, which it claims Israel completely refuses to discuss Lebanon’s conditions around it.
The issue of maritime border demarcation is of great importance to Lebanon in the field of energy exploration, as this country has been suffering from a stifling economic crisis for years that has significantly affected the energy sector throughout the country.