President Michel Aoun said Tuesday that he hopes the U.S. will resume its mediation efforts in the land and maritime border dispute between Lebanon and Israel.
His comments were made during a meeting with David Schenker, the United States assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs.
Schenker met multiple Lebanese officials on his first visit to the country since taking his post in June.
Aoun said that many points were agreed upon while Schenker’s predecessor, David Satterfield, was in charge of the mediation and that only few issues remained disputed, according to a statement from the presidency.
Schenker emphasized his country's readiness to revive its efforts to resolve the dispute.
Lebanon and Israel, which have remained in a technical state of war since 1948, have long disagreed on border demarcations in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, an issue that has gained prominence in the past decade, after large deposits of natural gas were found there.
Tensions between the two countries have risen after an Israeli drone exploded and another crashed in Beirut's southern suburbs last month.
The president stressed Lebanon’s commitment to U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701, despite Israel’s violations of Lebanon’s sovereignty through air, maritime and land breaches. The resolution ended the 2006 war between Hezbollah and Israel.
Aoun also said that he hoped that the U.S. would help facilitate the return of Syrian refugees to their country, as “Lebanon can no longer bear the negative consequences ... [of] the increase in [refugee] numbers.”
Schenker stressed his country’s support of Lebanon’s stability and the keenness of the U.S. to enhance bilateral ties, especially in support of the Lebanese Army and other security agencies.
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