In an apparent worsening of a dispute between Israel and Lebanon, "The Financial Times" reports that Lebanon has filed a complaint with the UN after Israel unilaterally placed a line of buoys extending two miles into the sea off the two countries’ land border, citing security reasons.
Israel claims that the line marks the maritime border between the two countries.
"The Financial Times" says that the issue is related to tensions between Israel and Lebanon over the recent offshore natural gas discoveries, which Lebanon claims are partly in its as yet undeclared maritime zone. Israel and Lebanon are still formally at war and they have never agreed a maritime boundary. Another problem is that Lebanon has not even passed an oil and gas law that would regulate drilling off its coast.
Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has declined to comment on the report.
"The Financial Times" specifically mentions the Leviathan gas field as the source of the latest Israeli-Lebanese tensions. The paper also notes that Hizbullah is seeking to win political capital taking up what it calls the defense of Lebanon’s natural resources. The paper quotes Minister of National Infrastructures Uzi Landau's response to these threats as saying that Israel “will not hesitate to use force” if that were necessary to defend its investment in the gas fields.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on July 18, 2010
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