“I also underscored the importance for Lebanon’s political leaders to implement reforms as called for by the Lebanese people,” Pompeo tweeted.
By OMRI NAHMIAS – The Jerusalem Post
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meets with Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun at the presidential palace in Baabda, Lebanon March 22, 2019
(photo credit: REUTERS/JIM YOUNG)
WASHINGTON – Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, spoke on Monday with Lebanese President Michel Aoun and welcomed the start of negotiations between Lebanon and Israel to agree on a common maritime boundary. “I also underscored the importance for Lebanon’s political leaders to implement reforms as called for by the Lebanese people,” Pompeo tweeted.
Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun said on Friday that his country “heavily relies” on Washington to mediate talks with Israel on the maritime border, according to i24 news. Aoun expressed hope that the US would help the sides overcome any difficulties that they may face.
The comments were released by Aoun’s office after he met with Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs David Schenker. It also reported that Schenker expressed his hope that the negotiations will conclude successfully and quickly.
Israeli and Lebanese negotiators met briefly on Wednesday at a United Nations base in southern Lebanon for talks on their disputed maritime border, ending their meeting after only an hour and agreeing to meet again on Oct. 28.
The Israeli and Lebanese delegations were made up of professionals and there was no political representation. The Israeli team was led by Energy Ministry director-general Udi Adiri, while Lebanon nominated Hadi Hashem, an official from its Foreign Ministry, after Hezbollah complained that sending a diplomat would make the talks political.
The US-mediated talks follow three years of diplomacy by the United States and were announced weeks after Washington stepped up pressure on allies of Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah, which fought a month-long war with Israel in 2006.