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Lebanon-Israel maritime border talks postponed, say officials

A picture taken on February 24, 2018 from Lebanon's southern border town of Naqura on the border with Israel, south of Beirut, shows the maritime boundaries between Lebanon and Israel. [JOSEPH EID/AFP via Getty Images]

US-brokered maritime border talks between Lebanon and Israel scheduled for tomorrow have been postponed "until further notice", Israeli and Lebanese officials announced yesterday.

The officials added that the American mediators would "contact the two governments separately."

The joint negotiations were launched in October, with delegations from the two countries convening at a United Nations base, in an attempt to resolve a dispute over their maritime borders that has suspended hydrocarbon exploration in a potentially gas-rich region.

The Israeli energy minister, Yuval Steinitz, recently said that his government had agreed with Washington to postpone the talks for "a few weeks to better prepare the next round of talks."

The US was reported to have sought to hold the joint talks for three years. The agreement to hold the negotiations was announced weeks after the US stepped up pressure on Hezbollah's allies in Lebanon by imposing sanctions on a senior politician from the Amal party.

READ: Israeli warplanes fly over Beirut, violate airspace

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