Hezbollah criticizes make-up of delegation for talks with Israel

Hours before start of Israel-Lebanon maritime border talks, Hezbollah expresses opposition to composition of Lebanese delegation.

Elad Benari ,

Israel-Lebanon border
Israel-Lebanon border
Hadas Parush/Flash 90

Hours before the start of negotiations on the maritime border between Lebanon and Israel, the Hezbollah terrorist organization on Tuesday night issued a statement in which it expressed opposition to the composition of the Lebanese delegation.

"This is a severe blow to the resistance and an acceptance of the Israeli rationale which desires normalization," said Hezbollah in the statement quoted by Kan News.

Lebanon and Israel, which are still technically at war, recently announced they had agreed to begin UN-brokered negotiations over the shared frontier, in what Washington hailed a "historic" agreement.

The talks are scheduled to begin on Wednesday morning at the UN base in Naqoura, located in southern Lebanon.

Earlier this week, the Lebanese Al-Akhbar newspaper reported that the Director General of the Office of the President of Lebanon, Bassam Shakir, will serve as the country’s senior diplomatic representative in the negotiations with Israel.

Last week, Hezbollah said the US-backed talks with Israel did not signify "reconciliation" or "normalization" with the Jewish state.

Iran-backed Hezbollah is both an armed terrorist organization as well as a major force in Lebanese politics with seats in parliament.

The talks had "absolutely nothing to do with either any reconciliation with the Zionist enemy... or policies of normalization recently adopted... by Arab states," Hezbollah's parliamentary bloc said in its statement last week.

"Defining the coordinates of national sovereignty is the responsibility of the Lebanese state," it added.

The issue of the sea frontier is especially sensitive as crisis-hit Lebanon hopes to continue exploring for oil and gas in a part of the Mediterranean disputed by Israel.

In February 2018, Lebanon signed its first contract for offshore drilling for oil and gas in two blocks in the Mediterranean with a consortium comprising energy giants Total, ENI and Novatek.

Lebanon in April said initial drilling in Block 4 had shown traces of gas but no commercially viable reserves.

Exploration of the other, Block 9, has not started and is more controversial as ownership is disputed by Israel.



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