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US says Israel-Lebanon talks at a ‘critical stage,’ hopeful deal can be reached

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US correspondent

US Senior Adviser for Energy Security Amos Hochstein in a meeting with Lebanon's caretaker Energy Minister Walid Fayad (not pictured) in Beirut on July 31, 2022. (Anwar Amro/AFP)
US Senior Adviser for Energy Security Amos Hochstein in a meeting with Lebanon's caretaker Energy Minister Walid Fayad (not pictured) in Beirut on July 31, 2022. (Anwar Amro/AFP)

The White House says talks between Israel and Lebanon on a maritime border deal have reached a “critical stage” and US envoy Amos Hochstein remains in close contact with both sides.

The deal appeared to falter today when Israel said it would not accept Lebanese changes to the agreement and put the IDF on alert.

“Special Presidential Coordinator Amos Hochstein continues his robust engagement to bring the maritime boundary discussions to a close. We remain in close communication with the Israelis and Lebanese,” says a White House National Security Council spokesperson.

“We are at a critical stage in the negotiations and the gaps have narrowed. We remain committed to reaching a resolution and believe a lasting compromise is possible,” the spokesperson says.

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