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US Ready To Negotiate Maritime Boundary for Israel, Lebanon
An Israeli Navy Sa'ar 5 corvette defends a natural gas extraction platform off Israel's coast, in an undated photograph. (Israel Defense Forces)

US Ready To Negotiate Maritime Boundary for Israel, Lebanon

The United States is ready to mediate negotiations for a maritime boundary between Israel and Lebanon, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said.

“Earlier this year, the Israeli and Lebanese governments sought U.S. assistance in mediating an agreement on their maritime boundary.  Such an agreement would offer potentially significant economic benefits to the people of both countries,” Pompeo said in a statement issued on Tuesday. ”Regrettably, despite goodwill on both sides, the parties remain far apart.  The United States remains ready to mediate constructive discussions and urges both sides to negotiate based on the respective maritime claims both have previously deposited at the United Nations.”

Israel and Lebanon began negotiations in October at the urging of the United States, to demarcate areas for offshore oil and gas exploration by both countries, which are technically at war. The negotiations are based on a 2011 map registered with the United Nations, with several hundred square kilometers in dispute.

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