Acting Lebanese Foreign Minister Abdallah Bou Habib said on Monday that significant progress has been made toward resolving the border dispute with Israel. "Negotiations on the maritime border demarcation are not yet complete, but they are making good progress," he told reporters. - "There is visible and significant progress in resolving the dispute over the ownership of offshore oil and gas fields."
The head of the foreign ministry met with Amos Hochstein, Senior Advisor for Global Energy Security of the US Department of State, who arrived in Beirut and is playing the role of a mediator between the parties. He stressed that "despite demarches by the radical Shia Hezbollah group, the final solution to the border problems remains with the Lebanese state."
Earlier, House Vice Speaker Elias Bou Saab confirmed that "the parties have managed to overcome much of the divide." "Hochstein delivered to us the Israeli response of agreeing that the Qana offshore field belongs entirely to Lebanon," he told LBC television. - "We all breathed a sigh of relief."
For his part, the American emissary told a press conference at Baabda Palace that "an agreement on demarcation will be reached in the coming weeks." "I remain optimistic about the possibility of moving forward quickly and look forward to returning to the region to complete my mission," he pointed out.
Lebanon and Israel are disputing an 856-square-kilometer area of the shelf from each other, each side considering it part of its exclusive economic zone in the eastern Mediterranean. The disputed area is located at the junction of Lebanon's Qana gas field with Israel's Karish field. The maritime boundary between the two neighbors, who have been formally at war since 1948, has not yet been established.
On Monday, Hochstein held talks with Republican President Michel Aoun, Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri and Prime Minister Najib Mikati. Earlier, he spoke with Acting Energy and Water Minister Walid Fayad, General Security Directorate (GSD) chief Abbas Ibrahim and Lebanese Army Commander Joseph Aoun.
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Based on materials from TASS