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Lebanon will invite the mediator with Israel in the maritime border dispute

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Lebanon announced this Monday that it will soon invite the US mediator who acts as an interlocutor with Israel in the negotiations on the definition of the common maritime border, which have been stalled since May of last year.

Lebanese President Michael Aoun and Prime Minister Nayib Mikati said in a statement that they had “agreed to invite the American mediator, Amos Hochstein, to come to Beirut to address the issue of completing the maritime border delimitation negotiations and work to finish them as soon as possible.

Lebanon and Israel, which do not have diplomatic relations, began negotiating on this matter in October 2020 in the first talks between the two on a civil issue in several decades, although these were not direct but through representatives of the United Nations and Washington.

Hochstein’s intervention, therefore, could mean a de facto restart of the negotiations.

Aoun and Mikati met, the note explained, to monitor “the maritime movements carried out by a liquefied natural gas production unit” in the disputed area and evaluate “the steps to follow” in the face of what they consider an attempt to Israel to “strain the situation”.

Lebanon, they warned, will consider “any exploration, drilling or extraction activity carried out by Israel in the disputed area as a provocation and a hostile act that threatens international peace and security.”

This Sunday, Mikati denounced in another statement “the Israeli enemy’s attempts to create a new crisis by abusing Lebanon’s maritime wealth and imposing a fait accompli in a disputed area in which Lebanon insists on its rights.”

The exploitation of energy resources in that area of ​​the Mediterranean Sea is behind the border dispute between the two nations, which last faced each other in a brief war in 2006 that lasted 34 days and which have a UN peacekeeping mission in their land border since 1978.


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