Israeli concessions prove Lebanon’s ‘right’ to border demands: Amal bloc

BEIRUT: Israeli concessions in the ongoing land and maritime border discussion prove Lebanon’s “right” to its demands, MP Ali Bazzi said following the weekly meeting of the Amal Movement’s parliamentary bloc Wednesday.

Border demarcation was the most important issue discussed at the meeting, Bazzi said, speaking for the bloc, adding that “positive progress” had been made toward achieving Lebanon’s proposed border demarcation.

The meeting took place a day after the Lebanese Foreign Ministry announced that negotiations on Lebanese-Israeli land and maritime border demarcation are in their “final stages,” without providing further details.

Lebanese officials had pitched a new “unified” stance on the Lebanon-Israel border to David Satterfield, the top U.S. envoy tasked with mediating discussions on the issue, earlier this month, which he conveyed to Israeli officials.

The U.N.-demarcated Blue Line, which currently separates Lebanon and Israel, contains at least 13 points that are disputed by the Lebanese government, while about 856 square kilometers of waters are disputed.

Last week, Satterfield told Lebanese officials that Israel had already agreed on two important Lebanese demands: that the United Nations be involved in the mediation, and that both land and sea disputes be resolved together.

During the bloc’s meeting Wednesday, its leader, Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, also assured members of the bloc that the Parliament MPs will have enough time to make changes to the draft budget, which President Michel Aoun approved Monday.

“MPs have the right to raise any issue [on the budget]. There is enough time, and the discussion is open so that MPs can express their opinions,” Bazzi quoted Berri as saying after the meeting.

Parliament would leave no stone unturned in discussing the budget, Berri continued.

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