| 15 April 2024, Monday |

Foreign Minister: We are in solidarity with Jordan, and the time is right to negotiate with Syria over demarcation

Caretaker Foreign Affairs and Emigrants Minister, Charbel Wehbe, confirmed in an interview with “Al-Quds Al-Arabi” today that “what befalls the Arab brethren’s, befalls Lebanon,” stressing “the importance of openness to Arab countries.”

“Lebanon is an Arab country that interrelates with its Arab brothers through thick and thin, and whatever befalls the Arab brotherhood befalls it,” he said.

“What is happening in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is a matter of great concern to us, and we pray for the full of stability of the Kingdom and that its security and the well-being of its people are not undermined,” Wehbe went on, affirming that “Lebanon is, in every sense of the word, in solidarity with His Majesty King Abdullah bin Al Hussein, the Jordanian government and the Jordanian people.”

Touching on the Syrian violation of Lebanon’s maritime borders to the north, Wehbe explained that this is not considered as a breach in the full sense of the word, as both Syria and Lebanon presented a map showing the borders of the special territorial waters, where the Lebanese map contradicted that of Syria. “We presented it in 2011 before Syria, which objected in 2014. We must now negotiate with our Syrian brothers within the logic of international law, good neighborliness, and the fraternal relationship between the Arab countries to demarcate the maritime borders,” he corroborated.

Asked about a near meeting with the Syrian side or summoning its ambassador to Lebanon, Wehbe replied: “I am in continuous contact with the Syrian ambassador, and I contacted him yesterday. The issue is not an aggression to which we respond, but rather creating the appropriate ground and appropriate timing for negotiations, and now the time is suitable for negotiating the demarcation of the maritime borders between Lebanon and Syria.”

Regarding his opinion on the proposal of Patriarch al-Rahi towards the neutrality of Lebanon, Wehbe said: “We call it an international possibility, and a formula that, if agreed upon by the Lebanese leaders, would be good for Lebanon, but it needs consensus.”

Over the Patriarch’s criticism of the consensus prerequisite regarding this issue, while Hezbollah does not care about any consensus when taking the decision to go to war, the Caretaker Foreign Minister said: “What His Beatitude the Patriarch said is correct. However, the implementation of neutrality and international protection requires consensus. The neutrality principle is based on internal consensus, the consensus of the countries surrounding Lebanon, and international and regional sponsorship.”

  • NNA