While waiting for Senior Advisor for Global Energy Security Amos Hochstein’s visit to Lebanon next March, Lebanese preparations for the demarcation file continue after the great step taken by Lebanon, considering that the maritime border line is point 23, not point 29, as there are points in the mediator’s proposal that need to be adjusted and amended.
There are internal contacts at the highest level to coordinate the situation and take it out, especially with regard to the Qana field, which overlaps with Israel, according to diplomatic sources.
The sources said that it is crucial that Lebanon takes a political decision to benefit from its oil wealth. Now, the initial line of the borders has been resolved, and the Presidency of the Republic will deal with the US mediator, as the file has become is limited to it, but with coordination with all officials in the state.
Thus, the meetings between the US mediator and Lebanon were limited to the President of the Republic and his team. The matter should be taken out through the Naqoura negotiations, which will be reactivated when substantial progress occurs.
The sources wonder, whether completing negotiations on the demarcation file, means a kind of normalization t? Is it an indirect confession or not? Will there be, at the end of the negotiation, an understanding similar to April’s agreement? Is there a desire for an indirect agreement?
Sources indicated that, in principle they agreed on the maritime borders, and the map is reported to the United Nations by Lebanon and Israel separately, with the approval of the US mediator, so that it becomes effective and companies can take it. Now there is a choice between Lebanon remaining begging for aid, or taking an initiative that presents an opportunity for it to save the country and its people. The most important matter is that whoever undertakes the responsibility for oil extraction should be an honest and transparent authority.
It does not seem that the Middle Eastern gas pipeline will pass, and that Russia is threatening to stop gas to Europe. If Lebanon starts extracting gas after three years of exploration, it can export gas to Europe. If an understanding is reached on the maritime borders, this means that oil exploration will begin immediately on the part of the Russian-French-Italian consortium. In addition to the expected US role in exploration, which will give Lebanon an opportunity to begin solving the financial hurdles after 3 years.
Hochstein has proposed that Lebanon would obtain the entire “Qana” field in exchange for the “Karesh” field for Israel, provided that an American company undertakes exploration in the disputed area and marketing of oil, where profits will be distributed between the two parties.