NNA – The US mediator tasked to hold indirect negotiations to demarcate the southern maritime border, Mr. Amos Hochstein, confirmed that the talks held with President of the Republic, General Michel Aoun, Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri, and Prime Minister Najib Mikati, were very important, expressing his optimism in additional progress in the file of demarcating the southern maritime borders.
Hochstein also hoped to return to the region soon to reach desired results.
Mr. Hochstein’s positions were expressed in the one and a half hour meeting held with the President of the Republic, the Speaker of Parliament and the Prime Minister.
The meeting was attended by: US Ambassador in Beirut, Ms. Dorothy Shea, Senior Adviser to the American Mediator, Mrs. Nadine Zaatar, the Director of Transnational Affairs of the Middle East and North Africa at the US National Security Council Ms. Lindsey Merrill and US Embassy diplomat Harald Olchen.
On the Lebanese side, Deputy Speaker of Parliament Elias Bou Saab, Director General of the Presidency of the Republic, Dr. Antoine Choucair, Director General of General Security Major General Abbas Ibrahim, Advisor to the Speaker of Parliament Dr. Ali Hamdan and diplomatic advisor to the President of the Republic, Ambassador Osama Khashab, attended.
Mr. Hochstein presented the outcome of the consultations held with Israeli officials regarding the issue of demarcating the southern maritime borders, and listened to a unified Lebanese position in accordance with the declared Lebanese constants.
After the meeting, Speaker Berri was asked whether the meeting was positive, and he replied “God willing, all is good”.
For his part, Premier Mikati, did not make any statement as he left Baabda Palace, making a positive hand gesture.
On the other hand, Deputy Speaker of Parliament Elias Bou Saab said “The atmosphere is positive. The gap in the differences in this file has narrowed and the time period that separates us from the return of the American mediator to Beirut it will be short”.
MP Bou Saab also pointed out that “Everyone was satisfied, and we are waiting to achieve what was discussed during the meeting, and God willing, we will see results in the next few weeks in this field”.
In response to a question, Deputy Parliament Speaker Bou Saab indicated that “No one asked us to cut down the blocks and extend the pipes. Lebanon demanded its entire blocks and nothing changed in its position. Hochstein never offered us any sharing of wealth, blocks or profits with the Israeli enemy”.
After the meeting, Mr. Hochstein said:
“I am grateful to President Aoun for his invitation to this meeting in the presence of the Parliament Speaker and Prime Minister.
I was honored to discuss this very important issue with representatives of the Lebanese government.
I remain optimistic about the continuation of the progress that took place in this file during the past weeks, and I am waiting for my return again and soon to the region to finish and reach a conclusion”.
A meeting was held before Hochstein’s arrival, which included the President, Parliament Speaker, and the Prime Minister.
The meeting was devoted to address the general situation and Lebanon’s unified position, which was later presented to Mr. Hochstein.—Presidency Press Office