Israel Intends to Advance Negotiations on Maritime Border With Lebanon
TEL AVIV (Sputnik) - Israel is interested in advancing negotiations on the demarcation of the maritime borders with Lebanon, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said on Tuesday, adding that the agreement will allow the Israeli and Lebanese gas platforms to operate in the disputed waters.
The question is whether the countries can achieve this agreement without unnecessary escalation due to the threats from the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, Gantz added during a briefing for the ambassadors of the UN Security Council and the member states of the Abraham Accords agreement.
Israel and Lebanon have been trying to resolve an overlap between the two rival nations' territorial waters, where large oil and gas deposits lie beneath the Mediterranean seabed, since 1996.
In 2020, the countries began US-mediated negotiations in Lebanon's southern town of Naqoura. The talks hit a bump six months later when Lebanon increased its demands with the line moved further south than their original claim, extending the disputed area from 332 square miles to 880 square miles, which would include at least part of the Karish North field. Israel refused to discuss the new terms.
In early September, an official Lebanese source told Sputnik that Israel had not yet responded to Lebanon's new proposals to demarcate a common maritime border and negotiations could drag on until the end of September.
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