David Satterfield, the acting United States assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs, met on Tuesday with President Michel Aoun, Speaker Nabih Berri, Prime Minister Saad Hariri and Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, to update them on his recent talks with Israeli officials on the demarcation of the land and maritime borders.
The US official is currently on a mission to reach understandings and agreements on the demarcation of borders. He returned to Beirut from Tel Aviv to convey the Israeli response to the relevant Lebanese proposal.
Sources close to Berri said that positive atmosphere surrounded the talks, adding that Lebanon “looks forward to the completion of the negotiation process with Israel, provided that the issue of Hezbollah’s arms would not be linked to the demarcation file.”
Satterfield discussed with Hariri the latest local and regional developments and underlined his commitment to mediate between the Lebanese and Israeli sides in order to reach an agreement over the border demarcation.
Meanwhile, LBC television channel reported that the issue of the parallel demarcation of the maritime and land borders has not yet been resolved by the Israelis. It added that Satterfield would return to Tel Aviv to complete the discussions over this point in addition to other matters, and would later inform Lebanon of the outcome of his consultations.
In this regard, a Lebanese official with knowledge of the matter told Asharq Al-Awsat that Lebanon insisted on the demarcation of the maritime and land borders at the same time, to guarantee the full process, while Israel wanted to start first with the sea borders.