BEIRUT: Prime Minister Najib Mikati and Cypriot President Demetris Christofias discussed in New York ongoing efforts to end the dispute between the two countries over their maritime borders, Mikati’s press office said Thursday.
Mikati met with Christofias in the presence of Lebanon's Foreign Affairs Minister Adnan Mansour, Lebanon’s Ambassador to the U.S. Antoine Shedid, Mikati's advisor Joe Khoury as well as a Cypriot delegation.
The discussion focused on bilateral ties and ongoing cooperation to end the issue of the joint maritime border, the statement said.
The two countries have been engaged in talks to deal with Lebanese concerns over Cyprus’ agreement with Israel. Lebanon’s concerns are blocking the approval of a 2007 agreement in which the edges of the Exclusive Economic Zones between Lebanon and Cyprus were delineated.
In December 2010, Cyprus signed a memorandum of cooperation with Israel for surveying and mapping joint energy projects. Lebanon says the memorandum’s provisions violate its maritime rights.
During the meeting with Christofias, Mikati also asked Cyprus to support issues affecting Lebanon at the European Union level.
Cyprus currently holds the presidency of the EU.
For his part, Christofias affirmed Cyprus’ support for Lebanon in all domains and said the two countries were directly affected by regional developments. He added that both delegations should intensify efforts to boost cooperation and hold meetings to continue discussions via joint committees.
Mikati is currently in New York heading Lebanon’s delegation to the U.N. 67 General Assembly and is expected to deliver a speech Thursday at midnight in front of the 193-nation assembly.
The prime minister also met with the head of the Libyan General National Congress, Mohamed Yousef el-Magariaf, and the two discussed developing bilateral trade and economic ties as well as facilitating the export of apples from Lebanon to Libya.
Lebanese farmers say they suffer a surplus of apple produce and have asked the government to search for export lines for the fruit.
Mikati said he would speak to the Lebanese private sector to arrange a visit to Libya to discuss cooperation at the trade level.
He also asked for a speedy investigation to reveal the fate of the missing Sheikh Musa Sadr.
Mikati met other several Arab officials in the financial capital of the United States including Egyptian President Mohammad Mursi, Kuwait’s Foreign Affairs Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Sabah and Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem.
Following a meeting at Sheikh Sabah’s residence in New York, Mikati described Kuwaiti-Lebanese ties as excellent, adding that there was nothing obstructing the development of such relations.
"We are always thankful to Kuwait, primarily the Emir and the government for supporting Lebanon in all fields as well as development projects via the Kuwaiti and Arab funds,” Mikati said.
“We discussed the difficult political situation in the region and I explained the government's policy toward the events,” he was quoted as saying.
During his meeting with Mursi, the statement said the two leaders discussed bilateral ties between the two countries as well as the situation in the region.
The regional situation was also a topic of discussion between Mikati and Sheikh Hamad.