Lebanon’s caretaker prime minister Najib Mikati expressed his country’s willingness to engage in negotiations for long-term stability in southern Lebanon during a meeting with UN Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix. Mikati’s office issued a statement reiterating Lebanon’s readiness for talks on achieving stability along the border with Israel. Mikati emphasized the importance of permanent stability and peaceful solutions while expressing concerns about warnings of a potential war on Lebanon. He questioned whether international delegates supported the idea of destruction and cited the situation in Gaza as unacceptable.
The recent border violence between Lebanese armed group Hezbollah and the Israeli military has led to mass displacement on both sides and raised concerns about potential escalation. Israel has underscored the importance of diplomacy to prevent Hezbollah attacks and push the group back from the border, while warning of potential military action if necessary. Hezbollah has stated that it does not seek full-scale war but will respond if provoked by Israel.
Mikati’s statement did not specify the nature of the negotiations that Lebanon would be open to, including whether they would be direct or mediated. Last year, US envoy Amos Hochstein suggested the possibility of talks on delineating the land border between Israel and Lebanon. The current demarcation line between the two countries, known as the Blue Line, was established by the United Nations when Israeli forces withdrew from south Lebanon in 2000.