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  • HISTORIC: Israel, Lebanon agree to US-mediated negotiations on maritime border, first direct talks in 30 years

    HISTORIC: Israel, Lebanon agree to US-mediated negotiations on maritime border, first direct talks in 30 years

    Israel and Lebanon have confirmed Thursday that they have agreed to begin negotiations on a maritime border.

    H/T: haaretz.com

    The talks will be mediated by the United States, under the auspices of the United Nations and led by Israel's National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Minister Yuval Steinitz. According to U.S. Assistant Secretary of Near Eastern Affairs David Schenker they are set to begin on October 14.

    “We welcome today’s announcement by Israel and Lebanon on their agreement to begin discussions on the maritime boundary,” U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement on Twitter. “This offers the potential for greater stability, security, and prosperity for citizens in both nations.”

    The State Department also released a statement on the Framework Agreement for Israel-Lebanon Maritime Discussions:

    The United States welcomes the decision by the Governments of Israel and Lebanon to begin discussions on the maritime boundary. This historic agreement between the two parties was brokered by the United States and is the result of nearly three years of intense diplomatic engagement by Ambassador David Satterfield and Assistant Secretary David Schenker.

    The agreement between the two parties on a common framework for maritime discussions will allow both countries to begin discussions, which have the potential to yield greater stability, security, and prosperity for Lebanese and Israeli citizens alike. Today’s announcement is a vital step forward that serves the interests of Lebanon and Israel, of the region, and of the United States. Both countries requested that the United States participate as mediator and facilitator in the maritime discussions. The United States looks forward to commencement of the maritime boundary discussions soon, to be held in Naqoura, Lebanon under the U.N. flag and hosted by the staff from the Office of the U.N. Special Coordinator for Lebanon (UNSCOL).

    Recognizing the positive experience of the Tripartite mechanism, the United States also looks forward to separate expert-level talks to define unresolved issues related to the Blue Line, which offer the promise of another positive step for regional stability.

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