Lebanon, Israel Say Willing To Resume Maritime Border Talks
Israel and Lebanon both said on Wednesday that they are willing to continue maritime border negotiations. The last negotiations, which were mediated by the US on an indirect basis, took place more than seven months ago, the first such negotiations in 30 years. Lebanese President Michel Aoun said on Wednesday morning, “Lebanon is ready to resume negotiating the demarcation of the southern maritime borders, in a way that preserves the rights and sovereignty of the Lebanese state.” Hours later, Israel’s Energy Minister Karin Elharrar responded that Israel also is ready to continue talks about its maritime border with Lebanon. The area in dispute is believed to be rich in natural gas deposits but neither side has been able to undertake the necessary exploration on most of it. Meanwhile, Elharrar is scheduled to meet next week with US State Department Senior Adviser for Energy Security Amos Hochstein, during which they are certain to talk about the negotiations with Lebanon.