Naqura, October 14: Lebanon and Israel on Wednesday have begun over the maritime border dispute. The talks are being mediated by the United Nations (UN) and the United States (US). The talks are likely to clear obstacles in oil and gas exploration in the territory. UAE Defends Decision to Normalise Ties With Israel.
Both Lebanon and Israel agreed to hold talks earlier this month to resolve the maritime border dispute. The US hailed the decision of both countries. The first round of talks started at 10:30 am (local time) at a base of UN peacekeeping force UNIFIL in the Lebanese border town of Naqura, reported AFP.
The talks between the two countries are taking place weeks after the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain became the first Arab countries to establish diplomatic relations with Israel after Egypt (1979) and Jordan (1994). Lebanon Agrees For UN-Mediated Talks With Israel For Resolving Border Issues.
Notably, Israel and Lebanon have no diplomatic relations and are still in a state of war. They have contested their land and maritime borders for decades. Both claim about 860 square km of the Mediterranean Sea. They also want to explore and develop new gas fields in the Mediterranean. The disputed region also includes an area on the edge of three Lebanese energy blocks.
The talks were initiated after US sanctions were imposed on the right-hand man of Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri for corruption and financially enabling Hezbollah, the heavily armed, Iran-backed group.