The content of Lebanon’s message last week to the United Nations says that it is counting on the success of the American mediation to demarcate the Lebanese-Israeli maritime borders. Which also means that Lebanon has practically retracted the proposal that its maritime borders reach Line 29, in accordance with Decree 6433, which President Michel Aoun did not sign. .
It also affirms the commitment, to a negotiated solution regarding the border issue, but the message carried a threat to return to the rightful claim and to review the borders of its exclusive economic zone in accordance with this decree, if indirect negotiations with Israel fail to achieve a negotiated settlement.
The letter is a response to the Israeli claims that there is an exclusive economic zone for Israel, which is proven, and that the Karish field is located within it, and this is what Lebanon objects to.
It also objtcts the Israeli claims that the licenses’ cycle launched by the Lebanese government regarding exploration at sea is located within Israeli marine areas, saying that it is located within the exclusive Lebanese economic zone.
Diplomatic sources confirm that the letter clarified Lebanon’s stance, which has so far retreated from the 29th line as a maritime border with Israel, and is adhering to a negotiated solution that it did not clarify, nor said anything about line 23 that was set by the former American mediator Frederick Hove, which gives Lebanon 865 km.
The visit of the American Energy Adviser, Amos Hochstein to Beirut in the coming days, expresses his country’s interest in demarcating the maritime borders between Lebanon and Israel, as this is one of the American indicators in maintaining and deepening Lebanese stability in order to enable Lebanon to benefit from its natural wealth at sea, at a stage that it needs it the most, in order to get out of the ongoing economic collapse.
Well-informed Western diplomatic sources reveal that Hochstein will not talk about sea lines separating Lebanon’s share from Israel’s. Rather, the negotiations will focus on the oil fields, ie the Qana field for Lebanon and the Karish field for Israel, which means abandoning the lines and sticking to the fields.
The American tendency is to surpass lines 23 and 29 and to focus at the borders of the fields, although Lebanon still does not agree to the American proposal, with no official stance so far.
According to the sources, Lebanon is withdrawing from line 29, which it was holding on to and which is the core of Decree 6433, and this line gives Lebanon 2,290 kilometers.
The sources quoted Hochstein as saying, following his visit to Lebanon, that he found a great convergence between the three presidents’ stances in determining the delineation of Lebanon’s maritime borders, and that for the first time the Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri’s stance is close to that of President Michel Aoun and President Najib Mikati.
Nevertheless, he made a positive impression, after his visit to Israel. And now he will continue his shuttle visits between Lebanon and Israel in a new effort to move the negotiation process from the point where it stopped last October.