US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo affirmed his country’s readiness to mediate in the negotiations that witness obstacles between Lebanon and the Israeli occupation regarding the demarcation of the maritime borders between them, according to the agency “Reuters”.
Pompeo said on Tuesday that the United States is ready to continue working with Israel and Lebanon on maritime border demarcation negotiations, adding, “Unfortunately, despite the good intentions of both sides, the parties are far apart.”
He indicated that the United States is ready to mediate in “constructive” discussions, and urged both sides to negotiate on the basis of each other’s maritime claims, which were previously deposited at the United Nations.
Lebanon and Israel have fought several wars and are still officially at war.
In 2019, the Israeli government announced that it had agreed to hold talks with Lebanon, with US mediation, to resolve the existing dispute over the maritime borders.
In early August, the Speaker of the Lebanese Parliament, Nabih Berri, told the Lebanese newspaper Al-Nahar that the talks with the Americans on the file of demarcating the maritime borders with Israel had become “in its end.”
The issue of the common maritime boundaries is a thorny issue, especially due to the ongoing dispute over coastal exploration rights.
In February 2018, Lebanon signed its first contract for offshore exploration for gas and oil in two blocks in the Mediterranean with a consortium that includes “Total”, “Eni” and “Novatek”.
In April, Beirut announced that initial drilling in Block Four had shown the presence of gas, but not in commercially viable quantities.
The exploration of Block Nine, which includes a disputed part with Israel, has yet to begin.