His meeting with Aoun was preceded by a session with the president’s team

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While there are no internal indications regarding the possibility of forming a new government in the foreseeable future, attention turned yesterday to the talks that were initiated in Beirut by the US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, David Hale, and which focused on the government file, as well as on the issue of maritime border demarcation negotiations with the Israeli enemy, Suspended for about five months. It is true that Hill did not speak publicly about the border file in his statements, but prominent sources confirmed that he raised the file with all those he met, and was “decisive in his position in which he asserted that Lebanon cannot sign the amendment to the decree and deposit it with the United Nations, and this matter will push Israel to Leaving the negotiating table, and Lebanon will not be able to do anything »!Hill met with Speaker Nabih Berri, Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri, Caretaker Minister of Foreign Affairs Charbel Wahba, and Progressive Socialist Party Chairman Walid Jumblatt. He also responded to the invitation of former Prime Minister Najib Mikati to an iftar. Hill discussed with those he met “the government crisis and the financial – economic crisis”, stating after that that “America and its international partners are very concerned about the failure to pursue a necessary reform agenda.” He stressed that “the time has come to ask the Lebanese leaders to show sufficient flexibility to form a government capable of carrying out serious and fundamental reform,” noting that “this is the only way out of the crisis.” Hill considered that “the current crisis – during which the Lebanese pound lost more than 85% of its value against the dollar and more than half of the population fell below the poverty line – is the result of decades of mismanagement, corruption and the failure of Lebanese leaders to put the country’s interests first.”
However, what has not been decided in public, is that Hill has initiated the political forces by ordering the amendment of Decree 6433 (defining the maritime borders of the exclusive economic zone of Lebanon), but everyone confirmed that “the file is in the custody of the President of the Republic, General Michel Aoun and the executive authority.” Therefore, informed circles considered that “the butter of Hill’s tour will be in the meetings he will hold today with President Michel Aoun and the caretaker prime minister, Hassan Diab, in addition to his meeting with Army Commander Joseph Aoun.”

Aoun believes that Lebanon has many cards that he can use before signing

Hill’s visit coincided with a political clash over the signing of the decree signed by Diab and the concerned ministers, while the president of the republic retreated from signing it. Opponents of the latter linked this comment to the visit of the American envoy, accusing him of “wanting to use the file in politics and bargaining with the Americans over it.” Some have reported that Aoun “said yesterday that he would hear first what Hill was carrying. If he is hard-line then we will sign the decree, and if it is lenient, we will leave the door open, because we do not want to provoke the American administration nor give an excuse to the Israeli enemy to stop negotiations.
On the other hand, the president’s team continues to affirm Aoun’s adherence to “the constitutional principles, so that no one will appeal the decree after that.” He believes that Lebanon has “many papers that he uses before signing.” Among them is that “the Lebanese foreign minister will present a protest letter during his visit to Greece tomorrow, which may push the Greek company (Energen) to stop work in the area that falls within the area. The disputed (1430 km), in addition to “waiting for what Hill will say in the meeting, as he represents the mediating party in the negotiations.” Aoun’s sources affirmed that he “will not neglect any inch of Lebanon’s rights, and the appropriate decision will be taken at the appropriate time.”
Disgruntled with the performance of the President of the Republic, they say that he “wants to use the file to establish himself as a reference in negotiations. He will also invest in it internally, by pushing for a cabinet session in order to float it in the face of Prime Minister Hariri. ”
Al-Akhbar learned from prominent sources that Hill anticipated his meeting with Aoun, in a session he held upon his arrival the day before yesterday at night, away from the media, with former ministers Elias Bou Saab and Salim Jreissati and MP Alan Aoun. The sources said, “The session is an exploratory test to feel the pulse of the American guest from the issue of the decree, before Aoun decides his fate.”
In the context, Foreign Minister Charbel Wahba touched, during a session with journalists yesterday, about Hill’s visit. He said that “according to the approach presented by Hill, Lebanon is still among the interests of the United States,” noting that he stressed that “his country considers the Lebanese Army a friend. He stressed the importance of preserving stability in the south, continuing cooperation between the army and UNIFIL, and implementing Resolution 1701. In response to a question about whether the maritime border demarcation negotiations with Israel were addressed, he indicated that “discussing this file will be mainly with Presidents Aoun and Diab”, explaining that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates does not participate in these negotiations because there is no political or diplomatic approach. . Wahba pointed out that “Hill, who wants to seek the opinions of political officials to find out what can be done in this regard,” indicated that the American visitor “considers that it is better to return to the situation in which the negotiations were in December.”

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