President Michel Aoun has stirred controversy by avoiding to consult with Speaker Nabih Berri and Prime Minister Najib Miqati regarding a letter that he sent to the U.N. about the sea border demarcation with Israel, media reports said.
The letter was delivered by Lebanese Ambassador to U.N. Amal Mudallali at the Presidency’s demand and following a request from Foreign Minister Abdallah Bou Habib, Kuwait’s al-Anbaa newspaper reported.
The letter states that Lebanon will now negotiate over Line 29 instead of Line 23 while preserving its right to amend Decree 6433 should there be procrastination, the daily quoted official sources as saying.
Speaking to the newspaper, parliamentary sources said Aoun addressed the letter in a “unilateral” manner without consulting with Berri and Miqati, and that Bou Habib has cited Miqati’s “preoccupation with the draft state budget” as an “excuse.”
The parliamentary sources added that Aoun’s move might be aimed at appeasing Washington so that it lifts the sanctions imposed on Free Patriotic Movement chief Jebran Bassil.
Informed sources meanwhile said that the visit of U.S. energy envoy Amon Hochstein to Lebanon is aimed at “splitting” the offshore oil and gas reserves between Lebanon and Israel instead of demarcating the maritime border.