Arab interior ministers slam Iran, Hezbollah

Updated 04 March 2016

Arab interior ministers slam Iran, Hezbollah

TUNIS: The Arab Interior Ministers’ Council on Thursday condemned Iran and Hezbollah for what it described as attempts to destabilize some Arab countries.

The ministers, at their 33rd meeting held in the Tunisian capital under the patronage of President Mohamed Beji Caid Essebsi, released the “Tunis Declaration” outlining resolutions taken to tackle terrorism and address conflicts in the region.
The declaration stated that the ministers condemned terrorism in all its forms, including those directed against ethnic minorities. They called for further efforts by Arab states, in line with United Nations Security Council resolutions, to tackle those seeking to raise funds through extortion, threats and ransoms.
The meeting denounced Israel for what it described as state-sponsored terrorism, and urged further support for the right of Palestinians to self-determination and an independent state with Al-Quds as its capital.
The ministers decried the storming of the embassy and consulate of Saudi Arabia in Iran and the harassment suffered by Saudi diplomats and their families. They further urged the Iraqi government to do everything it can to help free Qatari citizens kidnapped in that country.
They slammed Iran for “activities to destabilize and incite sectarian strife” in Bahrain and several Arab states. They further deplored the actions of Hezbollah to do the same in some Arab countries.
The ministers stated that they fully supported actions by member states to fight Al-Qaeda and Daesh terrorists; and efforts to restore the legitimate government in Yemen in the face of these and other groups, including the Houthis.
The declaration stated that these resolutions were taken in line with the objectives and aims of the Arab League and the principles outlined in the Arab Convention on Combating Terrorism.
These include the belief that terrorism was a real threat to regional and global security and required sustained and coordinated efforts to eradicate.

Beirut praises ‘progress’ on maritime border dispute

Updated 21 May 2019

Beirut praises ‘progress’ on maritime border dispute

  • Israel and Lebanon both claim ownership of an 860-square-kilometer area of the Mediterranean Sea.
  • Lebanon insists that the area lies within its economic zone and refuses to give up a single part of it

BEIRUT: Lebanon has hinted that progress is being made in efforts to resolve its maritime border dispute with Israel following the return of a US mediator from talks with Israeli officials.

US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs David Satterfield returned to Lebanon following talks in Israel where he outlined Lebanese demands regarding the disputed area and the mechanism to reach a settlement.

The US mediator has signaled a new push to resolve the dispute after meetings with both Lebanese and Israeli officials.

Israel and Lebanon both claim ownership of an 860-square-kilometer area of the Mediterranean Sea. Lebanon hopes to begin offshore oil and gas production in the offshore Block 9 as it grapples with an economic crisis.

A source close to Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, who met with Satterfield on Monday after his return to Lebanon, told Arab News that “there is progress in the efforts, but the discussion is not yet over.” He did not provide further details.

Sources close to the Lebanese presidency confirmed that Lebanon is counting on the US to help solve the demarcation dispute and would like to accelerate the process to allow exploration for oil and gas to begin in the disputed area.

Companies that will handle the exploration require stability in the area before they start working, the sources said.

Previous efforts by Satterfield to end the dispute failed in 2012 and again last year after Lebanon rejected a proposal by US diplomat Frederick Hoff that offered 65 percent of the disputed area to Lebanon and 35 percent to Israel. Lebanon insisted that the area lies within its economic zone and refused to give up a single part of it.

Satterfield has acknowledged Lebanon’s ownership of around 500 sq km of the disputed 850 sq km area.

Lebanon renewed its commitment to a mechanism for setting the negotiations in motion, including the formation of a tripartite committee with representatives of Lebanon, Israel and the UN, in addition to the participation of the US mediator. Beirut also repeated its refusal to negotiate directly with Israel.

Two months ago, Lebanon launched a marine environmental survey in blocks 4 and 9 in Lebanese waters to allow a consortium of French, Italian and Russian companies to begin oil and gas exploration in the area.