BEIRUT — United States Ambassador to Lebanon Dorothy Shea on Friday briefed President Michel Aoun, caretaker Energy Minister Walid Fayad, Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri and his deputy Elias Bou Saab on contacts made with Israel by US meditator in Lebanese-Israeli maritime borders negotiations Amos Hochstein regarding the progress on the issue.
Here’s what we know:
• According to the Lebanese Presidency, discussions between Aoun and Shea at Baabda Palace Monday, which took place in the presence of Bou Saab, focused on the "results of the contacts made by Mr. Hochstein with Israel regarding the delimitation of the maritime border and the progress made in this level."
• “Lebanese-American and American-Israeli contacts will continue with a view to continuing the examination of this file,” the press release stated.
• Indirect negotiations between Lebanon and Israel to demarcate maritime borders started in 2011, based on Lebanese claims registered at the United Nations through Decree No. 6433, claiming an 860-square-kilometer zone delimited by line 23. Negotiations were interrupted after Lebanon announced its intention to claim an additional 1,430-square-kilometer area delineated by line 29, which bisects the disputed Karish field, but have postponed making the necessary amendments to Decree No. 6433.
• On June 5, Israel deployed a floating production, storage and offloading vessel to the disputed Karish offshore gas field, causing tensions with the Lebanese side.
• President Michel Aoun has so far not signed an amendment to Decree No. 6433 of 2011 that would affirm Beirut’s claim to territory up to line 29 of the maritime borders rather than line 23, while there have been calls from many, including 13 opposition MPs coming out of the protest movement, for him to do so.