Hochstein begins Lebanon meetings, Fayyad says he's carrying positive proposal

U.S. energy mediator Amos Hochstein arrived Sunday in Lebanon carrying a new Israeli proposal regarding the sea border demarcation with Lebanon.

He began his talks in Lebanon by meeting with caretaker Energy Minister Walid Fayyad and General Security chief Maj. Gen. Abbas Ibrahim.

Speaking after the meeting, Fayyad said Hochstein is “carrying a new proposal to the Lebanese officials.”

“He told me that it is positive and denied all rumors about joint (gas) extraction between Lebanon and Israel,” Fayyad added.

“Hochstein told me that he will negotiate with the World Bank over the conditions for endorsing the electricity plan that Lebanon has devised,” the minister went on to say.

MTV meanwhile quoted Hochstein as telling Fayyad that the video released Sunday by Hezbollah will not help the negotiations because Israel will become more intransigent due to its parliamentary elections. The video shows gas production barges in the Karish field and their coordinates. It ends with footage of a rocket with the words "within range" in Arabic and Hebrew. Hezbollah also warned Israel in the video against "wasting time."

A senior Israeli meanwhile said that Hochstein would deliver a new Israeli proposal that "includes a solution that would allow the Lebanese to develop the gas reserves in the disputed area while preserving Israel's commercial rights."

"The offer that has been relayed is a serious proposal that can transform Lebanon from a country of economic ruin and energy crises to a natural gas-producing country, by enabling it to cultivate this resource," the official said.

Source: Naharnet

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