Hochstein arrives in Beirut, holds 'positive' talks with Bou Saab
U.S. energy mediator Amos Hochstein arrived Monday afternoon in Beirut for talks with top Lebanese officials over the sea border standoff with Israel.
Following his arrival, Hochstein held talks with Deputy Speaker Elias Bou Saab at the latter's residence in Rabieh. He was accompanied by U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Dorothy Shea.
Noting that he told Hochstein that the Lebanese stance over the sea border demarcation file is "unified," Bou Saab added that the meeting was "positive" and that the U.S. mediator "expressed desire to help."
Bou Saab later threw a dinner banquet in honor of Hochstein, Shea and the accompanying delegation.
Hochstein also met on Monday with caretaker Energy Minister Walid Fayyad and General Security chief Maj. Gen. Abbas Ibrahim.
Speaking to al-Manar TV, Ibrahim said his meeting with the U.S. envoy was "good."
He added that he told Hochstein that President Michel Aoun will inform him in their meeting on Tuesday of "Lebanon's unified stance over the maritime border demarcation file."
In addition to his meeting with Aoun, Hochstein will meet Tuesday with Speaker Nabih Berri and caretaker PM Najib Miqati.
Aoun and Miqati had urged Hochstein to visit Beirut to mediate over the border dispute after Israel moved a gas production vessel into an offshore field, a part of which is claimed by Lebanon. Lebanon cried foul after the ship operated by London-listed Energean Plc arrived in the Karish gas field on Sunday.
Lebanon and Israel had resumed negotiations over their maritime border in 2020 but the process was stalled by Lebanon’s claim that the map used by the United Nations in the talks needed modifying.
Lebanon initially demanded 860 square kilometers of territory in the disputed maritime area but then asked for an additional 1,430 square kilometers, including part of Karish.