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The US Mediator in the maritime border dispute with Israel arrived in Lebanon yesterday. Amos Hochstein met with General Security head Abbas Ibrahim and caretaker Energy Minister Walid Fayad yesterday afternoon, in the presence of US Ambassador to Lebanon Dorothy Shea, but the headline meetings are scheduled for today. Hochstein will meet with Lebanon’s three presidents—President Michel Aoun, caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati and Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri. Yesterday, a source in the Presidential Palace told L’Orient Today that the government will try to “secure” the Qana gas field and “negotiate” on line 29, which would add an extra 1,430 square kilometers to Lebanon’s maritime borders. Aoun has so far refused to sign a decree establishing line 29 as the government’s official position, despite pressure from several sides, including the new opposition MPs. A Baabda source who spoke with L’Orient Today argued that Aoun’s position is the right move, because if Lebanon officially adopted line 29, “the negotiations [would] stop indefinitely.”
Over 170 cases of hepatitis A have been recorded in Lebanon, amid a new outbreak of the virus. The Health Ministry announced the number of cases on Monday and said it is “doing the necessary investigation to discover the reason why this infectious disease is spreading.” The Order of Physicians in Beirut and Order of Pharmacists called for authorities to launch a preventative vaccination campaign, prioritizing the elderly and those with preexisting conditions. The ministry said it will begin publishing daily infection numbers for hepatitis A, as it already does for COVID-19. According to the World Health Organization, Hepatitis is transmitted through the ingestion of contaminated food and water or through direct bodily contact with the infectious person. Almost everyone recovers from Hepatitis A with a lifelong immunity, according to the WHO.
The judge responsible for investigating Forry Associates Ltd stepped aside yesterday, for unknown reasons. Public prosecutor at the Court of Appeal of Beirut Ziad Abou Haidar stepped down from the investigation into the company connected to Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh and his brother Raja. The file was transferred to Abou Haidar just days ago by the Beirut Court of Cassation’s Attorney General Jean Tannous, who at the beginning of June was hit with a legal counteraction from the Salameh brothers. Last Thursday, Public Prosecutor at the Court of Cassation Ghassan Oueidat initiated an action against the brothers and several other people for embezzlement, falsification, money laundering, illicit enrichment and tax evasion. Oueidat is also on the receiving end of a complaint of gross negligence from the Salameh brothers.
The Free Patriotic Movement will not vote to re-elect Najib Mikati as Prime Minister, party leader Gebran Bassil said on Sunday evening. Parliamentary consultations in Baabda to designate a new Prime Minister are expected later this week, and the candidate who receives the most votes will be tasked with forming the next government. The votes of the FPM’s 17 deputies could prove to be an obstacle to Mikati returning, but Mikati has also expressed some ambivalence about the prospect of another term in office. It is not clear who else might be a contender in the consultations.
In case you missed it, here’s our must-read article from over the weekend: “The 'silent disappearance' of Lebanese Jews.”
Want to get the Morning Brief by email? Click here to sign up.The US Mediator in the maritime border dispute with Israel arrived in Lebanon yesterday. Amos Hochstein met with General Security head Abbas Ibrahim and caretaker Energy Minister Walid Fayad yesterday afternoon, in the presence of US Ambassador to Lebanon Dorothy Shea, but the headline meetings are scheduled for today. Hochstein will...