Berri: Lebanon Has Right to Acquire Oil through Resistance if Diplomacy Failsإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Speaker Nabih Berri stressed on Wednesday that it is Lebanon’s “sovereign right” to explore its oil wealth.
He stated before reporters: “Lebanon has the right to acquire its oil wealth through the resistance should diplomacy fail.”
He noted however that “we have never resorted to the resistance until after all other options have been exhausted.”
“I am personally overseeing diplomatic efforts, as is the Lebanese state, and I hope that they will result in the demarcation of the maritime border,” he continued.
“The oil file should be the Lebanese people’s primary concern,” stressed the speaker.
In addition, Berri said that the demarcation of the maritime border should be just as important as the demarcation of the land border.
“There are promising amounts of offshore oil and some petroleum has even been discovered on land, but not in such large quantities,” he revealed.
Israel, Cyprus, and Lebanon have discovered huge offshore natural gas deposits beneath the Mediterranean Sea separating them.
However, 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.
A prolonged debate emerged between Lebanon, Cyprus, Turkey, and Israel over the demarcation of maritime border for its Exclusive Economic Zone.
The disputed zone consists of about 854 square kilometers, and suspected energy reserves there could generate billions of dollars.
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.
Addressing the government’s decision to distance itself from the developments in Syria, Berri remarked: “The pro- and anti-government forces are benefitting from this policy.”
On the ongoing debate over the parliamentary electoral law, he said: “The Development and Liberation and Loyalty to the Resistance blocs will support whatever agreement the Lebanese reach.”
“We support whichever law that helps reduce sectarianism,” explained the speaker.
“Everyone claims to support proportional representation, but in fact they back the 1960 law,” he noted.
“We support the adoption of one electoral district and proportional representation,” he revealed.
“We are open however to any serious discussion that could benefit the Lebanese people and the government must assume its responsibilities in this matter as soon as possible,” stressed Berri.
Some sides of the March 8 camp have voiced their support for proportional representation in the electoral law, but PSP leader MP Walid Jumblat has reportedly opposed it, with Minister Ghazi Aridi saying that those keen on this representation are seeking to limit the MP’s political weight.