Under the auspices of the United Nations and American mediation

Lebanon and Israel hold the rounds of negotiations on demarcating the borders again

Cars belonging to "UNIFIL" in Naqoura yesterday.


Yesterday, Lebanon and Israel held technical discussions on border demarcation, in the second round of negotiations in the Naqoura border region in southern Lebanon, under the auspices of the United Nations and an American mediation.

The negotiations began on the fourteenth of this October, between the two countries, which are considered at war and aspire to sharing oil resources in regional waters, after years of mediation undertaken by Washington, which plays the role of mediator in the talks.

The session was held away from the media at a border point belonging to the United Nations force in southern Lebanon (UNIFIL), in the presence of representatives of the United Nations and American diplomat John DeRoucher, who is in charge of facilitating negotiations between the two sides.

Lebanon insists on the purely technical nature of the indirect negotiations aimed exclusively at demarcating the borders, while Israel talks about direct negotiations.

In a statement, the Israeli government said that the Israeli delegation aims, through the meetings, to "explore the possibility of reaching an agreement regarding defining maritime borders between countries, in a way that allows the development of natural resources in the region."

The negotiations concern a marine area extending to about 860 square kilometers, based on a map sent in 2011 to the United Nations, and Lebanon later considered it based on wrong estimates.

The Lebanese state proceeds in the negotiations from the principle of demanding the maximum that can be obtained under the roof of international law and the law of the sea, meaning that it wants to go beyond 860 square kilometers, which makes part of the Karish gas field part of Lebanon's share.

In 2018, Lebanon signed the first contract to explore for gas and oil in two areas of its territorial waters, one of which, known as Block No. 9, is located in the disputed part with Israel.

Consequently, there is no option for Lebanon to operate in this territory except after the borders are demarcated.

The two negotiating delegations hope that progress will be made in the negotiations within a reasonable period of time that may take months.

Lebanon has always insisted in the past on linking the demarcation of the maritime borders with those of the land, but negotiations will focus only on the maritime borders, provided that the demarcation of the land borders will be discussed, according to the United Nations, within the framework of the tripartite periodic meeting that has been held for years.

Similar to the first session, journalists and photographers were not allowed to reach the site of the meeting, as the Lebanese army and UNIFIL forces cut off the road leading to it, patrolling the area, and UNIFIL helicopters flew overhead.

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