Preliminary contacts for the US envoy to Lebanon and a special interest in the energy file

Preliminary contacts for the US envoy to Lebanon and a special interest in the energy file
Preliminary contacts for the US envoy to Lebanon and a special interest in the energy file

The new head of the American delegation to the indirect negotiations to demarcate the maritime borders with occupied Palestine, Amos Hochstein, began a visit to Lebanon yesterday, which includes meetings with the Presidents of the Republic, the Parliament, the Government, the Army Commander and Minister of Energy Walid Fayyad, which indicates that the issue of demarcation is not the only item on his agenda, but rather Equal in importance is the issue of importing gas from Egypt.

Al-Akhbar learned that Hochstein pre-empted his visit to Beirut in contact with the Egyptian Minister of Electricity and Energy, Mohamed Shaker, and discussed with him the possibility of implementing the project within three months, i.e. the beginning of next year, while Amman and Cairo are communicating with the US administration to discuss securing official approval for an exception to the Acquisition Agreement. Egyptian gas and the electrical connection with Jordan are among the effects of Caesar’s law.

According to the information, the White House, the National Security Council, the Departments of State and the Treasury have discussed with Congress the possibility of adopting a letter of reassurance, or the so-called letter of comfort, as an alternative to exemption from the sanctions regime, especially since the US Treasury is still opposed to suspending the sanctions regime. It seems that overcoming the obstacles facing the Egyptian gas project is one of Hochstein’s tasks, which seeks to secure consensus between the administration and Congress on the most appropriate mechanism to proceed with it. On the condition that Chrissy Pichai, who accompanies the American mediator and holds the position of senior energy analyst (she is of Egyptian origin and speaks Arabic), will visit Cairo and Amman to discuss the energy file.

With regard to border demarcation, Hochstein aims, through his meetings, according to sources he met, to obtain a comprehensive view of each Lebanese party’s vision of the file, from President Michel Aoun to Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri to Prime Minister Najib Mikati, “to avoid the duplication that was expressed previously reported by the Lebanese authorities. However, according to the same sources, he will not call for the resumption of the Naqoura meetings soon, and he does not have an idea about whether the negotiations that will take place will be tripartite, i.e. under the auspices of the United Nations, or bilateral, i.e. between Lebanon and the Israeli enemy before obtaining Lebanon’s approval. He stressed that the US administration supports the current government, noting that his meetings with the Minister of Energy and the Army Commander will focus on the desired goals of these negotiations and not on private positions and opinions.

Hochstein overlooks studies presented by the Lebanese delegation in Naqoura to prove its right to adopt Line 29, considering that this demand results from the absence of a national Lebanese consensus on a single position, which led the delegation to demand the maximum, as well as pointing out that the previously adopted model in demarcation negotiations The negotiating delegation proved to be useless, but it did not show any interest in the nature of the delegation and whether it was military or civilian, as much as it focused on the “content” and the delegation’s “flexibility.”

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