Lebanon cites ‘major progress’ in demarcation talks with Israel – Middle East Monitor
Lebanese President Michel Aoun on Wednesday cited “major progress” in US mediation efforts over a maritime border dispute with Israel, Anadolu News Agency reports.
“The completion of the southern maritime border demarcation file will allow Lebanon to start the process of oil and gas exploration in the specified fields within the exclusive economic zone,” Aoun said in a statement.
“This will give the Lebanese economy a positive boost to start emerging from the crisis it has been going through for years,” he added.
The Lebanese leader said that the contacts to finalize the demarcation dossier “have made major progress, in which Lebanon has achieved what allows it to exploit its resources in its waters”.
“There are technical details that are currently being worked out in order to realize Lebanon’s interest, rights and sovereignty,” he added.
On Tuesday, the Israeli public broadcaster, CANsaid, quoting an Israeli official, that Tel Aviv has “particularly cautious optimism” about the possibility of reaching an agreement with Lebanon on their disputed maritime border.
Last week, the American mediator, Amos Hochstein, expressed his optimism that a border demarcation agreement between Lebanon and Israel could be reached soon.
Lebanon and Israel are locked in a dispute over a maritime area of 860 square kilometers (332 square miles), according to maps sent by the two countries to the UN in 2011.
The region is rich in natural gas and oil. As of 2020, five rounds of indirect negotiations have taken place on the issue under UN sponsorship and US mediation, with the last round taking place in May 2021.
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