3rd round of Lebanon-Israel maritime talks starts

Alaturka Politika Haberleri

By Hassan Darwish

BEIRUT (AA) – The third round of negotiations to demarcate maritime borders between Lebanon and Israel kicked off, local media said Thursday.

Today's negotiations are a continuation of the second round, which took place on Wednesday, as negotiations are expected to continue on Friday at the headquarters of the United Nations Interim Force (UNIFIL) in the Naqoura region in southern Lebanon.

The first round of the demarcation talks was held on Oct. 14 in the presence of the US State Department's top official for the region, David Schenker, who chaired the opening session, and former US Ambassador to Algeria, John Desrocher, who mediated the talks.

Lebanon is locked in a dispute with Israel over an area in the Mediterranean Sea spanning about 860 square kilometers (some 332 square miles), known as Zone No. 9, which is rich in oil and gas.

In 2016, Beirut announced the launch of the first round of licenses for exploration.

Earlier this month, Lebanese President Michel Aoun said the border demarcation talks with Israel will be “technical”.

The maritime borders between Lebanon and Israel have not seen any military conflicts, unlike their land borders.

Lebanese group Hezbollah controls the area bordering Israel, and sporadic incidents take place from time to time as Tel Aviv accuses the Shia group of attempting to breach the border.

*Writing by Mahmoud Barakat

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