World, Middle East

5th round of Lebanon-Israel demarcation talks conclude

Talks on setting maritime borders between 2 countries lasted for 5 hours, says official Lebanese news agency

Naim Berjawi   | 04.05.2021
5th round of Lebanon-Israel demarcation talks conclude File Photo

BEIRUT

The fifth round of negotiations between Lebanon and Israel on their maritime border demarcation concluded on Tuesday, the official Lebanese News Agency said.

The agency said that "the round of negotiations lasted for five hours, under the auspices of the United Nations and with American mediation, in complete secrecy far from the media."

It added that the Lebanese side "insisted on its right to its maritime borders and to every water point, in accordance with the internationally recognized maritime law."

The talks were held at the headquarters of the UN Interim Force (UNIFIL) in southern Lebanon’s Naqoura region.

Earlier Tuesday the agency said former US Ambassador to Algeria John Desrocher was the mediator in the talks.

On Monday, Lebanese President Michel Aoun said Lebanon's response to the resumption of the indirect negotiations "reflects its desire to maintain stability and security in the region,” underlining "the importance of correcting the maritime borders in accordance with international laws and regulations.”

Lebanon is locked in a dispute with Israel over an area in the Mediterranean Sea spanning about 860 square kilometers (some 332 square miles), known as Zone No. 9, which is rich with oil and gas.

In 2016, Beirut announced the launch of the first round of licenses for exploration.

The maritime borders between Lebanon and Israel have not seen any military conflicts, unlike their land borders.

Lebanese group Hezbollah controls the area bordering Israel, and sporadic incidents take place from time to time as Tel Aviv accuses the Shia group of attempting to breach the border.

*Bassel Barakat contributed to this report from Ankara

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