Reports: US asked Israel not to make Lebanon talks part of 'electoral bazar'


The United States has pressed Israel on the issue of sea border negotiations with Lebanon, asking it not to make the file a part of the domestic "electoral bazar" in Israel, which is readying for a new round of early legislative elections.

Quoting informed sources and Western diplomats, al-Akhbar newspaper said U.S. President Joe Biden himself has raised this issue with Israeli leaders, including with opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu.

Media reports have recently said that Israel has asked that the agreement with Lebanon be postponed until after the Israeli elections.

Moreover, al-Akhbar said Tuesday that Israel cannot give up the Qana offshore field without something in return.

It explained that under Israeli law, giving up any alleged Israeli property requires the approvals of several Israeli authorities, including the president, the premier, two thirds of the members of government and two thirds of the members of parliament, something which is not possible at the moment.

"That's why they are talking about an exit mentioning Israel's sovereignty over the field while its reservoirs would belong to Lebanon," the daily said.

"There's another detail related to the work of the company that would explore in the Qana field and whether it would need a notice or a permission whenever it wants to enter into the field," the newspaper added.

According to the sources, U.S. mediator Amos Hochstein himself agreed during the Baabda meeting that it should be a notice so that Israel doesn't control the exploration works inside the field.

Al-Liwaa newspaper meanwhile quoted political sources as saying that "all parties are keen on the completion of Hochstein's mission as soon as possible, in light of the expected benefit to all the concerned countries."

"There is clear keenness from all the concerned nations to speed up the steps," the sources added.

According to media reports, Hochstein is currently in Israel for talks with Israeli officials over the file.

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