Berri Says Israel Bid to Share Lebanon Gas 'Categorically Rejected'إقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri emphasized Wednesday that Lebanon will not allow Israel to seize control of parts of its offshore oil and gas fields.
“Lebanon's stance is unified and coherent in terms of defending our sovereignty, oil resources and maritime and territorial borders,” Berri said during his weekly Ain el-Tineh meeting with lawmakers.
“The Israeli equation 'What's ours is ours and what's yours is ours and yours' is categorically rejected and shall not pass,” the Speaker underlined.
U.S. Acting Assistant Secretary of State David Satterfield arrived Wednesday in Lebanon following talks in Israel over the latest gas dispute. He has been shuttling between Lebanon and Israel since February 7 in a mediation endeavor.
Lebanon this month signed its first contract to drill for oil and gas in a pair of offshore zones, including one that Israel says belongs to it.
Lebanese officials have said the whole zone belongs to Lebanon while Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman has insisted it is solidly in Israeli territory.
Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz has told Satterfield that "a diplomatic solution is preferable for both sides."
A consortium comprising energy giants Total, ENI, and Novatek has pledged to begin drilling off of Lebanon's coast by 2019.