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Hochstein betrays pledge, won't bring gas deal to Lebanon

U.S. mediator Amos Hochstein will visit Lebanon this weekend but his visit will not be decisive, al-Akhbar newspaper reported on Tuesday.

“He will brief the three presidents (Michel Aoun, Nabih Berri and Najib Mikati) on the United States’ vision for the solution, in light of the ongoing discussions with the Europeans and Israelis, and he will ask the Lebanese to clarify some points,” the daily said.

Quoting informed sources, the newspaper said the U.S. mediator “will not carry a final format or an agreement that is ready for signing.”

“He has stressed to Deputy Speaker Elias Bou Saab that reaching a fair agreement is an utmost priority for the U.S., and that he is seeking a fair solution that would satisfy both parties,” the sources said.

“Hochstein sent reassuring messages emphasizing that they are serious about reaching an agreement,” the sources added.

Al-Akhbar meanwhile said that “the Americans are likely seeking to win more time and they consider that Israel’s announcement that extraction operations from Karish will be delayed is a step that is sufficient for defusing Hezbollah’s threat to carry out a warning strike against the enemy.”

“They are also seeking anew to find an exit for an agreement that would satisfy the enemy, although they are saying that the issue will tackle the image and not the essence,” the daily added.

Informed sources also told al-Akhbar that Hochstein had two days ago requested to hold a meeting in Qatar with a Lebanese presidential envoy or delegation, a proposal that was reportedly rejected by Lebanon.

Al-Anbaa newspaper meanwhile said that “the draft agreement that will be carried by Hochstein gives the entire Karish field to Israel in return for Lebanon keeping the entire Qana field with some amendments to Line 23, which might turn into a zigzag line in the part overlapping with the Israel border, as an Israeli condition, due to the ruling coalition's disagreement with the Likud over this point and its use in the electoral campaigns bazaar.”

Al-Anbaa also quoted unnamed sources as saying that “President Michel Aoun’s camp wants the agreement to be signed before the end of his term on October 31.”


Written by The Levant