Report: Hochstein says Israel rejected Lebanese remarks, not entire deal
U.S. mediator Amos Hochstein has told Lebanon that Israel has only rejected some of the Lebanese remarks to the sea border demarcation proposal and not the entire agreement, a Lebanese Presidency source told Al-Hadath TV on Thursday.
A Lebanese official meanwhile told the TV network that “the Israeli rejection is electoral talk and will not affect the agreement.”
He added that he expects the agreement with Israel to be “signed without problems,” adding that Israel’s latest rejection is only aimed at “saving face.”
Israel said earlier on Thursday that it will reject Lebanon's amendments to the U.S.-drafted proposal. A draft agreement floated by Hochstein aims to settle competing claims over offshore gas fields and was delivered to Lebanese and Israeli officials at the weekend, following years of indirect negotiations.
Israel had welcomed the terms set out by Hochstein and said they would be subjected to legal review, but gave no indication it sought substantive changes. Lebanon presented its response to Washington's proposal on Tuesday.
Washington's terms were also welcomed by Iran-backed Hezbollah, a major player in Lebanon that considers Israel its arch-enemy.