Lebanon and Israel talks resume over disputed maritime border


Lebanon and Israel are resuming US-mediated talks relating to a dispute over their Mediterranean Sea border that has held up hydrocarbon exploration within the probably gas-rich space.

The talks, between international locations nonetheless technically at warfare, kicked off on the UN base within the city of Naqura in southern Lebanon, the National News Agency reported on Tuesday.

Lebanon and Israel took half in oblique talks to debate demarcation final yr. But they stalled after Lebanon demanded a bigger space, together with a part of the Karish gasoline discipline, the place Israel has given exploration rights to a Greek agency.

The talks final yr have been supposed to debate a Lebanese demand for 860sq km (330 sq. miles) of territory within the disputed maritime space, based on a map despatched to the United Nations in 2011.

However, Lebanon then mentioned the map was based mostly on inaccurate calculations and demanded 1,430sq km (552 sq. miles) extra additional south, together with a part of Karish.

“The discussion will start from where we left it off,” a supply on the Lebanese presidency advised AFP information company on Tuesday. He mentioned each Israel and Lebanon demanded a special demarcation line.

“We don’t accept the line they’ve proposed, and they don’t accept ours, so we’ll see what the mediator suggests.”

8ace1e7e11444bd7b5969d6daada413e 18Last month, Lebanese President Aoun demanded Israel halt all exploration in Karish till the dispute was settled [File: Reuters]

Last month, Lebanese President Michel Aoun demanded Israel halt all exploration in Karish till the dispute was settled.

In February 2018, Lebanon signed its first contract for offshore drilling for oil and gasoline in Blocks four and 9, with a consortium comprising vitality giants Total, ENI and Novatek.

Lebanon in April mentioned preliminary drilling in Block four had proven traces of gasoline however no commercially viable reserves.

Washington mentioned on Friday the discussions could be brokered by US diplomat John Desrocher, and referred to as the resumption of talks “a positive step towards a long-awaited resolution”.

Desrocher arrived in Beirut on Monday evening to participate within the talks, based on The Associated Press information company.

Lebanese politicians hope that commercially viable hydrocarbon sources off Lebanon’s coast may assist raise the debt-ridden nation out of its worst financial disaster in a long time.

But Lebanon’s authorities stepped down after a massive blast at Beirut’s port in August 2020, and deeply divided politicians have been unable to type a brand new cupboard ever since.