US envoy meets with Lebanese president for talks about Israeli gas rig
Officials in Lebanon reportedly prepared to give Israel full control of the Karish field in return for Lebanon getting the Qana field
The US envoy mediating between Lebanon and Israel over their disputed maritime border met Lebanese President Michel Aoun on Tuesday in Beirut, the president’s office said. The talks focused on ways of reaching a solution amid rising tensions along the boundary.
Amos Hochstein, a senior adviser for energy security at the US State Department, arrived in Beirut on Monday following an invitation by the Lebanese government. The invitation came after Israel set up a gas rig in its designated location at the Karish field, which Israel says is part of its UN-recognized exclusive economic zone. Lebanon insists it is in a disputed area.
Israel and Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah have been exchanging threats, with the terror group’s leader last week warning he would strike the gas rig at Karish. The heavily armed Hezbollah, which has fought several wars with Israel, has repeatedly said in the past that it would use its weapons to protect Lebanon’s economic rights.
Days later, Israel’s army Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi threatened Lebanon with “unprecedented bombing,” saying that a future war would be very large.
The US-mediated indirect talks between Lebanon and Israel have been stalled since last year amid disagreements within Lebanon over how big the disputed area is.
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