Lebanese President Michel Aoun stressed on Thursday the importance of continuing the border demarcation negotiations with Israel and what he described as "honest and fair" mediation by the US. The American delegation is headed by Assistant Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hill.
Aoun pointed out that he is "entrusted with Lebanon's sovereignty, rights and interests and will not overlook them while working to spare the country from the negative repercussions that may arise from any careless attitude." All possible efforts should be made to ensure consensus and not disagreement among the Lebanese people over the demarcation of the border with Israel.
The first round of indirect negotiations to demarcate the maritime border between Lebanon and Israel was launched on 14 October under UN auspices and US mediation. The fifth round was postponed when the Lebanese delegation presented papers, documents and maps, claiming an extra 1,430 square kilometres, in accordance with the recognised law of the sea.
Aoun has called for international experts to be accredited in order to demarcate the border in accordance with international law, and to ensure that no oil or gas related operations, or any exploration activities, will be carried out in the Karish field and adjacent waters.
The Lebanese president emphasised the foundations for launching the border demarcation negotiations. He insisted that Lebanon has the right to develop its position in line with its interests and international law, and in accordance with constitutional principles.
After meeting with President Aoun, Hill stressed that, "The US is ready to facilitate negotiations between Lebanon and Israel on the maritime borders, and bring experts to help in solving this issue."