Differences 'Resolved' at Baabda Meeting, Parties Plan Action over Israeli Threats

A tripartite meeting at Baabda Palace between President Michel Aoun, Speaker Nabih Berri and Prime Minister Saad Hariri in a bid to ease political tensions concluded “positively” and the officials announced that differences have been resolved, as they planned action against Israeli threats against Lebanon.

Speaker Nabih Berri, who left the hall with a smile on his face, told reporters at the Presidential Palace: “The meeting was productive,” and announced that the Presidency will issue an official statement about the meeting.

He did not give further details.

For his part, Prime Minister Saad Hariri also hailed the outcome of the meeting and said: “It was positive and productive. You will all witness cooperation among us all in the interest of the Lebanese.”

He assured that the differences between Berri and Aoun have been resolved.

An official statement was later issued by Baabda Palace assuring that the interlocutors have agreed that “Lebanon's civil peace shall not be threatened by political differences.”

They also “agreed to address what happened in the previous days through the State institutions and the Constitution.”

They reiterated “adherence to the National Pact agreement to preserve national coexistence and deter any threats against civil peace.”

Highlighting Israel's threats against Lebanon's security and oil wealth, the statement said: “Israeli threats are a flagrant violation against UN Resolution 1701 and directly threaten stability prevailing on the border area since 2006.”

“We will continue to move at various regional and international levels to prevent Israel from building the cement wall and its potential encroachment on oil and gas wealth in Lebanese territorial waters,” it added.

“A series of actions will be presented to the High Defense Council at an extraordinary meeting to be held tomorrow afternoon, with a view to taking appropriate decisions that will prevent Israeli encroachment and prevent any security deterioration in the border area,” it added.

The meeting comes several days after Aoun held phone talks with Berri at the Premier's request in order to ease skyrocketing tensions between their supporters against the backdrop of a leaked video footage of Aoun's son-in-law and Foreign Minster Jebran Bassil calling Berri a “thug.”

The initial row began over a seniority decree promoting a number of army officers that did not carry the signature of the finance minister.

Moreover, the latest statement by Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Lebanon's offshore gas bloc accelerated the necessity for Lebanon's senior officials to meet.

Lieberman described as "very provocative" Lebanon's tender on exploring gas in Block 9. This gas field "is by all accounts ours," the Israeli minister said.

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