Lebanon and Israel to hold ‘historic’ maritime border talks

image copyrightAFP

image captionLebanon and Israel have declared overlapping boundaries in the eastern Mediterranean Sea

Lebanon and Israel are to hold talks to end a long-running maritime border dispute between the two countries, which remain formally at war.

The speaker of the Lebanese parliament said a “framework” had been agreed for the negotiations, which will take place under the auspices of the UN.

Israel’s energy minister said the talks would begin after mid-October.

The US welcomed what it called an “historic agreement” following almost three years of mediation.

“This offers the potential for greater stability, security, and prosperity for citizens in both nations,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted.

Lebanon and Israel have declared overlapping boundaries in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, and a resolution of the dispute would allow them to exploit offshore natural gas fields.

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The neighbouring states have technically remained at war since the Arab-Israeli conflict of 1948-49.

While there is no agreed land border between them, they are committed to a ceasefire along the so-called Blue Line. The boundary was drawn up by the UN after Israeli forces withdrew from southern Lebanon in 2000, ending 22 years of occupation.

The de facto land border is one of the region’s tensest frontiers, where Israel forces face those of the Lebanese army and the Lebanese Shia militant group, Hezbollah.

In 2006, Israel and Hezbollah fought a month-long war that killed some 1,190 Lebanese and 163 Israelis. The conflict ended in a UN-brokered ceasefire.

Related Topics

  • Israel

  • Lebanon

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