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Israel seeks negotiations on maritime border with Lebanon 

A view of the platform of the Leviathan natural gas field in the Mediterranean Sea is pictured from the Israeli northern coastal city of Caesarea on 19 December, 2019 [JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images]
A view of the platform of the Leviathan natural gas field in the Mediterranean Sea is pictured from the Israeli northern coastal city of Caesarea on 19 December, 2019 [JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images]

Lebanon has been undergoing an unprecedented political, economic and security crisis, which has backed political forces into a corner with regards to available options to save the country from total collapse.

Diplomatic sources told Rai Al-Youm that the Lebanese government headed by Hassan Diab can only survive for a maximum of two more months before losing complete control.

Pressed for time, the Lebanese political forces are seeking to activate the French initiative and form a national salvation government as soon as possible. On the other hand, the indirect negotiations with Israel to demarcate the land and sea borders adds to a series of complicated issues.

In Beirut, warnings of Israeli and US intentions to politicise the negotiations have been widely circulated, at a time when Israel has decided to invite Benjamin Netanyahu’s political advisor and the deputy director of international organisations in the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs to participate in the delegation.

This follows Israel’s failure to involve high-level political officials in the negotiations while appointing Minister of Energy Yuval Steinitz to head the delegation, which was rejected by Lebanon.

READ: Israel oil exploration near disputed borders is ‘dangerous’

The Israeli delegation also includes head of the army’s strategic planning department, Brigadier General Oren Sitter.

Tel Aviv is trying, with direct support from Washington, to include Netanyahu’s Foreign Policy Advisor Reuven Azar and the Deputy Director of International Organisations in the Israeli Foreign Ministry Alon Bar in the negotiations, reported Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar.

US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs David Schenker will arrive in Beirut on 12 October to participate in the opening session of the Lebanese-Israeli negotiations on border demarcation, which will take place at Ras Al-Naqoura Crossing.

The data on the conditions of the border negotiations between Israel and Lebanon indicate that Beirut is about to face a fierce battle in which the US will exert economic and financial pressures to obtain concessions from the Lebanese side.

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