Satterfield in Beirut for Talks, Sfeir Condolences


U.S. Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs David Satterfield arrived Tuesday in Beirut for talks with Lebanese officials.

Satterfield began his visit by offering condolences in Bkirki over the death of ex-Maronite patriarch Nasrallah Sfeir.

He later held talks with Prime Minister Saad Hariri.

The U.S. official's visit to Lebanon comes after U.S. Ambassador Elizabeth Richard was informed of a unified Lebanese stance over the demarcation of the maritime border, which indicates that the trip is aimed at continuing discussions over a U.S.-mediated mechanism.

Last month, Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri told the commander of the U.N. peacekeeping force in Lebanon, Maj. Gen. Stefano del Col, that Beirut is ready to establish the maritime border and special economic zone with Israel.

There are some 860 square kilometers of waters claimed by the two countries, which are technically in a state of conflict.