Israel and Lebanon to hold talks on maritime border

UNIFIL vehicle in southern Lebanon / Photo: Aziz Taher, Reuters

The direct talks will be the first official civilian diplomatic contact between the two countries for thirty years.

Between Israel and Lebanon lie several important gas reservoirs, and with the deep economic crisis in Lebanon, it is important for that country to develop them. So for the first time in thirty years, civilian diplomatic negotiations will take place between the two hostile countries.

Up to now, Lebanon has not developed its gas industry because of the dispute over the maritime border. For its part, Israel has also refrained from exploring the area in dispute. Today, Minister of Energy Yuval Steinitz confirmed that the two countries will hold talks mediated by the US on the borders of their economic zones.

"Our goal is to bring to an end the dispute over the demarcation of economic waters between Israel and Lebanon, in order to assist the development of natural resources for the benefit of all peoples of the region," Steinitz said.

At a meeting that took place a few weeks ago involving the Ministry of Energy, the Prime Minister's Office, the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Defense, the terms of the negotiations were agreed upon. The breakthrough between the two countries came a short time afterwards, during the latest visit to the region by US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs David Schenker.

The talks between Israel and Lebanon are due to start after the Sukkot holiday at the UNIFIL base in the Lebanese town of Naqoura.

Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on October 1, 2020

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2020

UNIFIL vehicle in southern Lebanon / Photo: Aziz Taher, Reuters
UNIFIL vehicle in southern Lebanon / Photo: Aziz Taher, Reuters
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