Report: Halted Sea Border Talks Likely to Move ahead
Lebanon’s halted sea border demarcation talks with Israel are likely to resume sometime “soon,” the reputable An Nahar newspaper reported on Thursday.
According to “signals” received by “supervisors” of this file, some “positive” developments occurred recently, including “secret” talks away from the media spotlight. “Hopefully” the talks lead to a near resumption of indirect negotiations at the UNIFIL headquarters in Naqoura, said the daily.
Shall the much-anticipated talks resume, it will be an indicator that the US mediator succeeded at obtaining Lebanon and Israel’s approval to resume the crucial talks, and counter concerns about tension building up between the two foes.
Lebanon and Israel began indirect talks with U.S. mediation in October to reach a deal over the disputed area that is believed to be rich with oil and natural gas deposits. The meetings that stopped few weeks later were being held at a U.N. post along the border of the two nations that remain technically in a state of war.
The negotiations were the first non-security talks to be held between the two countries, which have no diplomatic relations following decades of conflict. Resolving the border issue could pave the way for lucrative oil and gas deals on both sides.
In late October, the Lebanese delegation to the talks — a mix of army generals and professionals — offered a new map that pushes for an additional 1,430 square kilometers (550 square miles).
This area is to be included in Lebanese territory on top of the already disputed 860 square kilometer- (330 square mile-) area of the Mediterranean Sea that each side claims is within their own exclusive economic zones.
The decree still required the signatures of the defense minister, prime minister and president to go into effect.