Cypriot authorities informed Lebanon that Israel is willing to resolve the dispute over the maritime borders, As Safir newspaper reported on Tuesday.
Sources told the daily that the extensive contacts between the Lebanese and Cypriot sides “expressed the seriousness of the Cypriot part to resolve the issue.”
According to the sources, the Cypriot authorities informed Lebanon about the contacts with the Israelis that revealed they are willing to resolve the maritime border dispute and to halt any escalations concerning the issue.
“The Cypriots are positive in dealing with the Lebanese stance,” the sources stated.
They added that Lebanon will not enter any direct or indirect negotiations with the Israelis, as Lebanon aims at confirming its rights by benefiting from its natural resources that extends in its Exclusive Economic Zone.
Lebanon and Israel are bickering over a zone that consists of about 854 square kilometers and suspected energy reserves there could generate billions of dollars.
Diplomatic sources told As Safir that the U.S. administration is exerting efforts to resolve the dispute between the two countries as the matter might justify any attempt by the Lebanese resistance to target Israel and its offshore oil installations.
The Hizbullah-led government has warned that Lebanon will not give up its maritime rights, while Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah has vowed to defend Lebanon’s maritime resources.
Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour told the daily that his ministry is waiting for the United Nations to confirm the map submitted by Lebanon.
The Israeli map conflicts with Lebanon's proposed maritime border. Beirut argues its map is in line with an armistice accord drawn up in 1949, an agreement which is not contested by Israel.
“We have already discussed the issue with the Cypriot authorities… and demanded them to rectify the mistakes done by them through demarcating their maritime borders with Israel, which harmed Lebanon,” Mansour noted.
Lebanon has been slow to exploit its maritime resources compared with other eastern Mediterranean countries. Israel, Cyprus and Turkey are all much more advanced in drilling for oil and gas.
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