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Lebanon denies demarcation deal for maritime border with Israel

August 23, 2022 at 9:04 am

This picture taken on June 2, 2020, near the northern Israeli kibbutz of Misgav Am, shows UNIFIL soldiers watching, from the Lebanese village of Adaisseh, as Israeli army Merkava IV battle tanks take part in routine manuevers near the “blue line”, a demarcation line drawn by the UN to mark Israel’s withdrawal from southern Lebanon in 2000. (Photo by JALAA MAREY / AFP) (Photo by JALAA MAREY/AFP via Getty Images)

Lebanon denied on Monday that it has reached an agreement on the demarcation of its maritime border with Israel, Anadolu has reported.

The denial followed a report by Israel’s Channel 12 TV on Sunday which claimed that the two countries were close to agreeing a demarcation deal.

Lebanon and Israel are engaged in a dispute over the demarcation of territorial waters in 860 square kilometres of the Mediterranean Sea, according to maps sent by both counties to the UN in 2011. The area is rich in natural gas and oil, and Israel has been carrying out exploratory drilling operations and is very close to being able to pump natural gas in sufficient volume to be commercially viable.

READ: Hezbollah warns of ‘escalation’ if Lebanon’s maritime demands are not met

Five sessions of indirect negotiations have been held between Lebanon and Israel under UN sponsorship and US mediation. The last round of talks was held in May last year, but major differences prevented any agreement being reached.