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Israel's: We will respond to Lebanon's unilateral steps on maritime borders

Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz on 5 December 2017, in the Cypriot capital Nicosia. [IAKOVOS HATZISTAVROU/AFP via Getty Images]
Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz on 5 December 2017, in the Cypriot capital Nicosia. [IAKOVOS HATZISTAVROU/AFP via Getty Images]

Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz, who is leading negotiations with Lebanon on the demarcation of the maritime borders, said that "the unilateral Lebanese steps will be met by parallel Israeli steps."

Yesterday, a senior cabinet minister said he had signed a document expanding Lebanon's claims in a row with Israel over their maritime border that has held up hydrocarbon exploration in the potentially gas-rich area. The amendment adds approximately 1,400 square kilometres to its exclusive economic zone.

In a statement after the announcement, Steinitz said: "Lebanon seems to prefer to butcher the talks instead of making an attempt to reach solutions."

"This is not the first time over the past 20 years the Lebanese change their maritime maps for propaganda purposes and to exhibit a patriotic stance, and thus they obstruct themselves time after time."

"While other countries in the region, such as Israel, Egypt, and Cyprus, have been working for years to develop their natural gas fields in order to ensure the well-being of their fellow citizens, the Lebanese remain behind and make fiery statements that fail to achieve anything."

READ: Lebanon, Israel reject moving maritime border talks to Europe

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