Presidency Dismisses Israeli Remarks on Lebanon's Negotiations Stance

The Lebanese Presidency on Friday dismissed remarks by Israel’s energy minister about Lebanon’s stance in the negotiations over sea border demarcation.

In a statement, the Presidency’s press office shrugged off as “baseless” Yuval Steinitz’s claim that Lebanon has changed its stance “seven times.”

"Lebanon has changed its stance on its maritime border with Israel seven times," Steinitz tweeted late Thursday.

"Its current position contradicts not only its previous one, but also Lebanon's stance on its maritime border with Syria, which takes into account Lebanese islands close to the border," Steinitz added.

Earlier on Thursday, Aoun had set out Lebanon's position on the maritime border, which he said should be "based on the line that departs on land from the point of Ras Naqoura.” 

The demarcation should be "according to the general principle known as the median line, without taking into account any impact of the occupied Palestinian coastal islands," Aoun tweeted, referring to the Israeli coastline.

Lebanon and Israel, which remain technically at war, opened negotiations on the border dispute under U.S. and U.N. auspices last month to clear the way for offshore oil and gas exploration.

They have been negotiating based on a map registered with the United Nations in 2011, which shows an 860-square-kilometer (330-square-mile) patch of sea as being disputed.

But Lebanon considers that map to have been based on wrong estimates.

Aoun's tweet on Thursday confirms that Lebanon is now demanding an additional 1,430 square kilometers (552 square miles) of sea further south, which includes part of Israel's Karish gas field, said Lebanese energy expert Laury Haytayan.

Source: Naharnet

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