The top White House adviser said the reason for his trip to southern Lebanon was to “understand and learn more about what is needed to potentially be able to achieve a result.” Image courtesy of Reuters
White House senior adviser Amos Hochstein said Thursday after a two-day visit to Lebanon that the United States was exploring options for resolving the long border issue between Israel and Lebanon.
After the establishment of the maritime border between the two countries in 2022, paving the way for the launch of offshore exploration activities on behalf of Lebanon last week, Hochstein said it was “natural” to examine the problem .
The top White House adviser said the reason for his trip to southern Lebanon was to “understand and learn more about what is needed to potentially be able to achieve a result”.
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“It’s time for me to hear the view from the other side and figure out if now is the right time,” he said.
Hochstein said he would talk with Israel next and that if both sides agreed, “America would be ready to work with us,” according to Lebanon’s acting foreign minister Abdallah Bou Habib.
The Blue Line, a UN-drawn border that marks the point where Israeli forces withdrew in 2000 when they left southern Lebanon, serves as the current dividing line between the two nations.
This summer, tensions flared throughout the conflict, with members of the heavily armed Lebanese organization Hezbollah or its supporters engaging Israeli soldiers, as well as rocket fire into Israel in bursts of Israeli-Palestinian violence .
Abdallah Bou Habib, Lebanon’s acting foreign minister, said last week that establishing the land border could ease tensions.
UNIFIL, the UN peacekeeping force, convened meetings between Lebanon, Israel and the UN to discuss issues impeding the demarcation of the land border. On Thursday, UNIFIL’s one-year mission was extended.
(With agency contributions)