Report says no breakthrough in Lebanon-Israel indirect talks
Lebanese officials told Western envoys who visited Beirut over the past two weeks that Lebanon is clinging to “the simultaneous implementation of Resolution 1701 by the two sides,” Lebanese sources involved in the talks said, describing the ideas leaked by U.S. news portal Axios as “ideas that satisfy the Israeli side with which Lebanon is not concerned.”
“The international envoys did not carry a solid proposal and we have not started negotiations over anything,” the sources told Asharq al-Awsat newspaper in remarks published Thursday.
Another source following up on the discussions told the daily that “there have been no new proposals since the beginning of the crisis.”
“From all the discussions, it has not appeared that there is anything practical and no breakthrough has been achieved. The international envoys have also not carried guarantees regarding an Israeli withdrawal from all occupied Lebanese territories,” the source added.
Two Israeli officials and an informed source had told Axios that the U.S. and four of its European allies hope to announce in the next few weeks a series of commitments made by Israel and Hezbollah to diffuse tensions and restore calm to the Israel-Lebanon border.
Amos Hochstein, one of U.S. President Joe Biden's closest and most trusted advisers, met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant in Israel on Sunday and discussed his proposal for “new understandings” on the border, Axios said.
“The proposal is based on the model of the 1996 ‘Grapes of Wrath’ understandings between Israel and Hezbollah that were declared by the U.S. and other world powers to end the Israeli military operation in Lebanon at the time,” Axios added.
The sources said the new understandings would not be officially signed by the parties but the U.S. and four European allies -- the UK, France, Germany and Italy -- would issue a statement detailing the commitments each side has agreed to make.