Finance Minister Mohammed al-Safadi stressed the bilateral ties between Lebanon and Cyprus during an official visit to the capital Nicosia, reiterating Lebanon’s will to defend its maritime border, the National News Agency reported on Thursday.
“The relations are based on mutual respect, interest, and the will to implement world peace, especially in the Mediterranean,” Safadi said at the end of his visit to Cyprus.
He tackled with his Cypriot counterpart Kikis Kazamias the importance of developing the bilateral ties between the two countries in all fields.
The two agreed on forming a committee between Lebanon and Cyprus to exchange information and expertise in the financial sector as the two countries are trying to start offshore oil and gas exploration.
Safadi also discussed the political developments in the region with Cypriot Foreign Minister Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis and the demarcation of the maritime border between the two countries.
“Lebanon is holding onto its rights concerning the maritime borders that Israel is claiming as its own,” Safadi said.
Lebanon has submitted to the United Nations a maritime map that conflicts significantly with one proposed by Israel.
Beirut argues its map is in line with an armistice accord drawn up in 1949, an agreement which is not contested by Israel.
The disputed zone consists of about 854 square kilometers, and suspected energy reserves there could generate billions of dollars.
For her part, Kozakou-Marcoullis expressed her country’s support to Lebanon in the international community, as it is about to head the European Union in June.
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