Israel Border Talks to be Held in Naqoura as Lebanon Rejects 'Timeframe'

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The Lebanese-Israeli negotiations over the demarcation of the land and maritime borders will be held at UNIFIL's headquarters in Naqoura, media reports said, after U.S. envoy David Satterfield told Lebanon that Israel has agreed to begin the talks.

"The U.N. will host and sponsor the negotiations, which will be held under its flag and with the participation of the U.S. mediator and the attendance of the Lebanese and Israeli sides,” al-Joumhouria newspaper reported on Wednesday.

“The Lebanese delegation will be military and will enjoy a political cover,” the daily added.

Satterfield had returned Tuesday to Beirut with Israeli responses to the Lebanese proposals.

He held talks with President Michel Aoun, Speaker Nabih Berri, Prime Minister Saad Hariri and Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil.

Berri said “things are still going in a positive direction but so far have not been settled.”

And as Berri said that Satterfield relayed Israel's acceptance of simultaneous land and sea demarcation, he added that “there are things that still need discussions and scrutiny and we're awaiting the U.S. official to return with the Israeli response to them.”

As for the pending points, he clarified that “the Israelis are proposing a six-month timeframe for the negotiations, whereas Lebanon is rejecting any timeframe for the talks.”

Lebanon wants “open-ended negotiations until an agreement is reached,” Berri added.

Al-Joumhouria said Lebanon fears that Israel would procrastinate and waste time during the six-month period should the talks be confined to a timeframe.

The Lebanese side has insisted on UNIFIL's participation in the U.S.-mediated negotiations.

Satterfield also met with Army Commander General Joseph Aoun on Tuesday, which indicates that logistic details related to the possible negotiations have started to be raised in the preparatory contacts.

Comments 1
Missing phillipo 29 May 2019, 18:00

As the demarcation of borders is a political and national matter, why does a military force (and an external one at that) UNIFIL have to be involved?