Middle East

Lebanon rejects Israeli gas exploration in disputed area

Israel signed exploration contract with US Halliburton Company to conduct exploration in disputed area with Lebanon

Stephanie Radi   | 22.09.2021
Lebanon rejects Israeli gas exploration in disputed area

BEIRUT, Lebanon

Lebanese President Michel Aoun said Wednesday that Israel's signing of an oil and gas exploration contract in a disputed maritime area contradicts the UN-hosted indirect negotiations between Beirut and Tel Aviv.

Speaking during a meeting with UN special envoy to Lebanon, Joanna Wronecka, Aoun expressed his country's objection to Israel's recent signing of a contract with an American company to conduct exploration operations in the disputed area, according to a statement released by the Presidency.

Aoun said all exploration operations in the disputed area shall be frozen until a resolution comes out from the indirect negotiations between Lebanon and Israel.

Last week, Israel signed an oil and gas exploration contract with the US Halliburton Company to conduct exploration operations in the maritime area disputed between Israel and Lebanon.

In October 2020, the first round of indirect UN-brokered negotiations were launched between Lebanon and Israel with US mediation.

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.

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 tensions take place from time to time as Tel Aviv accuses the Shia group of attempting to breach the border.

Writing by Ahmed Asmar in Ankara

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