Today, Wednesday, Lebanese President Michel Aoun expressed his country’s welcome to the Kuwaiti initiative to resolve the dispute between Lebanon and the Gulf states, which was put forward by the Kuwaiti Foreign Minister during his visit to Lebanon a few days ago.
During a meeting with the United Nations Special Coordinator in Lebanon Ioana Runica, Aoun said that the Lebanese response to the items will be carried by the Foreign Minister to the Arab ministerial meeting that will be held in Kuwait next Saturday.
In the same context, the head of the Lebanese Forces Party, Samir Geagea, said that he appreciates what he described as the “Gulf initiative” towards Lebanon, and called on the Lebanese official authorities to take practical steps to keep pace with the initiative, which he described as a rescue.
Geagea warned of what he called the precautions that the President of the Republic and the Prime Minister would not take this opportunity, and said that the initiative constitutes a struggle goal for the sovereign Lebanese, according to his description, and if it is not captured, the Lebanese people will vote in the polls for this political project, as he put it.
And last Saturday, Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Ahmed Nasser Al-Mohammed Al-Sabah – during his visit to Lebanon – carried a Kuwaiti message, which included “ideas and suggestions aimed at rebuilding confidence between Lebanon and the Gulf states,” according to the Lebanese presidency.
This is the first official visit by a high-ranking Gulf official since the diplomatic crisis that erupted in late October between Lebanon and Gulf countries, including Kuwait, following statements by Lebanese Minister of Information George Qardahi (he later resigned), in which he criticized the Yemen war, prior to his assumption of the ministry.
Negotiating with Israel
In another context, the Lebanese President indicated that his country is ready to resume indirect negotiations (with Israel) on the southern maritime borders, in a manner that preserves the rights and sovereignty of the Lebanese state, as he put it.
And the Israeli Energy Ministry announced that talks on the maritime border with Lebanon will resume next week.
Negotiations between Lebanon and Israel have been suspended since May 2021, after four sessions of talks were held under the auspices of the United Nations and American mediation, without reaching an agreement. The dispute over the demarcation of the maritime border has hampered exploration work in potentially gas-rich areas.
In a third context, Aoun stressed the commitment to holding parliamentary elections in Lebanon on schedule next May, especially since the logistical preparations are taking place in succession, as well as the required financial funds.
Aoun said that his country condemns any aggression against the international forces operating in the south, pointing out that an investigation has been opened into the recent incident that occurred in the town of “Ramiya”, to determine the responsibilities.
He stressed the importance of coordination between the Lebanese army and the United Nations Interim Force (UNIFIL) in order to avoid the recurrence of such incidents.
Yesterday, Tuesday, UNIFIL forces encountered an objection from some residents in the town of Ramyah (southern Lebanon). This is the third incident of its kind in about a month. At the beginning of January, vehicles belonging to the UN force were subjected to sabotage and theft at the hands of unknown persons in southern Lebanon.
On December 22, young men in the southern town of Shaqra intercepted a patrol of the same force, as a result of which two young men shocked them while they were trying to escape.
Ronesca conveyed to Aoun the position of the United Nations on the developments in Lebanon, noting that the Security Council will hold a session next March, during which Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will present a report on the development of the Lebanese situation and the positive points recorded recently.