BEIRUT — Speaker of the Lebanese Parliament Nabih Berri said that the maritime border agreement between Lebanon and Israel does not need to be discussed in Parliament "because it is not an agreement with Israel," in remarks reported Friday by the press.
This statement came the day after Beirut approved the final version of the agreement, which was officially endorsed by Israel on Tuesday.
Parliamentarians had called on Thursday for the agreement to be discussed and voted on in Parliament, after which Berri asked the General Secretariat of the House to "send a copy of the text of the southern maritime border to all members of parliament for consultation, after adoption by the government." According to Berri, quoted by the pan-Arab daily Asharq al-awsat, the text does not need to be discussed in Parliament "because it is not an agreement with Israel."
The approval procedure of the agreement is controversial in Lebanon. Some believe that it must be approved by Parliament, while others believe that it is only a matter of amending the 2011 decree specifying the country's borders, which requires only the signature of the president, the prime minister and the ministers of public works and defense. During his televised address on Thursday evening in which he announced Lebanon's approval of the agreement, President Michel Aoun did not mention the adoption procedure.