BEIRUT, Aug. 1 (Xinhua) -- Lebanese President Michel Aoun on Monday said Lebanon will not give up on its maritime rights and claims on natural resources in the indirect negotiations on border demarcation with Israel.
The talks "aim at preserving Lebanon's rights and reaching a solution, in cooperation with the American mediator, that would protect our wealth," a presidential statement quoted his speech to mark the Lebanese army's 77th anniversary as saying.
His remarks came a day after U.S. energy envoy Amos Hochstein arrived in Beirut to mediate the indirect talks between Lebanon and Israel, where he told reporters he "remained optimistic about making progress towards a deal" after meeting with top Lebanese leaders including the president.
Aoun said the conclusion of the negotiations constitutes an opportunity for Lebanon to explore its oil and gas wealth and improve its economic situation.
Aoun added that Lebanon is also keen to maintain calm and stability on its southern borders, a mission carried out faithfully and professionally by the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon in cooperation with the Lebanese army. ■