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Lebanon says border demarcation talks with Israel 'complicated'

September 6, 2022 at 6:27 pm

Deputy speaker Elias Bou Saab on May 31, 2022 [ANWAR AMRO/AFP via Getty Images]

Parliament Deputy Speaker, Elias Bou Saab, on Tuesday said there are thorny issues in the maritime border demarcation talks between Lebanon and Israel, Anadolu News Agency reports.

“There are major complications but are being resolved one after another,” Bou Saab told reporters, following talks with President Michel Aoun in the capital, Beirut.

Lebanon warns Israel against aggressive action in their disputed waters – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/Middle East Monitor]

He said his talks with Aoun dwelt on recent discussions with US mediator, Amos Hochstein, who is expected to visit Lebanon this week.

“Communication and contacts will intensify in September and we hope we will be able to reach a result,” he said. “We don’t want to let go of optimism, but we don’t want to say that we’re pessimistic,” the Deputy Speaker said.

“The month of September will be decisive. If it turns out that the Israelis are intransigent and do not want a solution, Lebanon will have other choices,” he warned.

Lebanon and Israel are engaged in a dispute over a maritime area that is 860 square kilometres (332 square miles), according to maps sent by both countries to the UN in 2011.

The area is rich in natural gas and oil. Five sessions of indirect negotiations were held between Lebanon and Israel under UN sponsorship and US mediation.

The last round of talks was in May 2021, but it was stuck because of major differences.

READ: US mediator in Lebanon-Israel maritime talks to arrive in Beirut this week