The US escalation expressed by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo against Iran and Hezbollah during his visit to Beirut did not prevent the opening of a positive door in the demarcation of the disputed maritime border between Lebanon and Israel.
Pompeo expressed US’ willingness to help along with the United Nations’ efforts to deal with the demarcation of the southern border during his meeting with Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, who stressed that any solution would begin with the maritime borders.
It is noteworthy that Washington’s willingness to lead this mediation came in the wake of Pompeo’s visit to Tel Aviv, which reflected “American guarantees about Israel’s participation in these talks under the auspices of the United Nations,” the sources said.
Representatives and experts of both sides are expected to participate in the demarcation of the border. Lebanon is now in the process of exploration and assessment of its maritime oil and gas reserves, within a crucial time span until 2020, which includes opening a new licensing cycle.
As the file of border demarcation was discussed smoothly, accompanied by Lebanon’s declaration of commitment to the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701 and its keenness to maintain stability on the southern border, as stated by President Michel Aoun, the level of concern rose in the light of Pompeo’s escalation towards Hezbollah and Iran, and he spoke of tightening financial sanctions that would restrict the party’s ability to carry out its work, as the US official said in Beirut.
Lebanese political sources emphasized that Lebanon’s stance was united on dealing with Hezbollah. In remarks to Asharq Al-Awsat, the sources said that the positions of Aoun, Berri and Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil were those adopted in the government policy statement. In a news conference with Bassil on Friday, the US Secretary of State said that his country would continue using “all peaceful means possible” to pressure Hezbollah.