Lebanon ready to resume maritime talks with Israel: President

Lebanon and Israel opened border negotiations in October after quiet US diplomacy, seeking to clear the way for offshore oil and gas exploration sought by both

  
Lebanese President Michel Aoun delivers televised address to the public on eve of Lebanon's centenary at the presidential palace in Baabda, Lebanon in this undated handout released on August 30, 2020. Dalati Nohra/Handout via REUTERS

Lebanese President Michel Aoun delivers televised address to the public on eve of Lebanon's centenary at the presidential palace in Baabda, Lebanon in this undated handout released on August 30, 2020. Dalati Nohra/Handout via REUTERS

BEIRUT: Lebanon wants to resume maritime borders demarcation negotiations with Israel based on deliberations during talks last year, President Michel Aoun told the US ambassador during a meeting Tuesday.

Aoun also told Ambassador Dorothy Shea that Lebanon was "keen on continuing friendly and cooperative relations with the United States" after the inauguration of President Joe Biden, a presidential statement said.

"The topic of negotiations in demarcation of Lebanese southern maritime borders was also tackled, where the president affirmed Lebanon’s stance in resuming negotiations, based on the proposals presented in previous meetings," the statement added.

Lebanon and Israel opened border negotiations in October after quiet US diplomacy, seeking to clear the way for offshore oil and gas exploration sought by both.

The talks between the two countries were suspended in December after the Jewish state accused Lebanon of inconsistency.

The two nations have been negotiating based on a map registered with the United Nations in 2011, which shows an 860-square-kilometer patch of sea as being disputed.

But Lebanon considers that map to have been based on wrong estimates and now demands an additional 1,430 square kilometers of sea further south, which includes part of Israel's Karish gas field.

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