Lebanon, Israel hold talks over maritime border dispute

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The first round of negotiations between Lebanon and Israel on their maritime border demarcation concluded on Wednesday, the official Lebanese News Agency said.

No information was yet available about the results of the UN-brokered negotiations, which started earlier on Wednesday. A second round of the negotiations will be held on Oct. 28.

The negotiations were held in the presence of the US State Department’s top official for the region, David Schenker, who chaired the opening session, while former US Ambassador to Algeria, John Desrocher, was the mediator in the talks, according to an Anadolu Agency correspondent.

Previous statements by Lebanese officials said the negotiations are held indirectly between the two delegations, who talk to each other through the mediator.

Lebanon is locked in a dispute with Israel over an area in the Mediterranean Sea spanning about 860 square kilometers (some 332 square miles), known as Zone No. 9, which is rich with oil and gas.

In 2016, Beirut announced the launch of the first round of licenses for exploration.
On Tuesday, Lebanese President Michel Aoun said the border demarcation talks with Israel will be “technical”.

The maritime borders between Lebanon and Israel have not seen any military conflicts, unlike their land borders.

Lebanese group Hezbollah controls the area bordering Israel, and sporadic tensions take place from time to time as Tel Aviv accuses the Shia group of attempting to breach the border.

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