The Lebanese army chief said on Friday that there would be no compromise on the country’s sovereignty in the maritime border negotiations with Israel.
President Michel Aoun on Thursday clarified the starting point of Lebanon to demarcate its maritime border with Israel in talks mediated by the United States, in the first public confirmation of a position according to sources which in fact increases the size of the disputed area.
Israel and Lebanon kicked off negotiations last month with delegations from long-standing enemies who met at a UN base to try to agree on the unresolved border that has delayed oil exploration in the potentially gas-rich area.
Israel continues to threaten to attack Lebanon and alter the country’s internal stability, said the commander of the armed forces, General Joseph Aoun, two days before Lebanon’s Independence Day.
“77 years of independence and Lebanon is currently going through a critical and difficult phase without precedent on the political, economic and social levels”, declared the general, in reference to the recent port disaster which claimed the lives of hundreds of people in the midst of the global coronavirus pandemic.
The army chief said everyone in Lebanon was counting on the army to face “the danger and bury the sedition”, vowing that any attempt that threatened civil peace would not be tolerated.
Lebanon celebrates Independence Day on November 22. But the country has canceled all forms of national festivities marking the occasion amid a coronavirus outbreak.
Meanwhile, Israel accused Lebanon on Thursday night of changing its position in talks over their disputed maritime border and warned that this could lead to a “stalemate” that would be damaging to the entire region.
“Lebanon has changed its position on its maritime border with Israel seven times,” Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz tweeted.
“Its current position contradicts not only the previous one, but also Lebanon’s position on its maritime border with Syria, which takes into account the Lebanese islands close to the border,” Steinitz said.