Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri is expected to announce on Thursday an establishment of a framework for mediated talks with Israel over the two countries’ shared sea border Lebanese paper Al-Akhbar reported on Wednesday. The media outlet is considered by many to be a mouthpiece of the Hezbollah terrorist organization.
According to the report, Berri will reveal the accord two weeks before US Assistant Secretary of State David Schenker is expected to arrive in Beirut.
Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz, who is representing Israel in the negotiations expressed gratitude towards US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as well as his staff for making it happen. This includes Schenker as well as Washington’s Ambassador to Turkey David Satterfield and Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi.
Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri stated that the framework for talks was agreed after US sanctions were imposed on former Lebanese government ministers Yusuf Finyanus and Ali Hassan Khalil for corruption and financially enabling Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed proxy military. Washington has declared the Shi’ite Muslim group a terrorist organization.
Lebanon’s change of heart comes as the country is experiencing a crushing financial crisis as its economy has been crippled underneath a mountain of debt. Their woes were compounded by a massive port blast
that destroyed an entire section of Beirut early last month.