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Israel, Lebanon resume talks on disputed maritime border

Israel, Lebanon resume talks on disputed maritime border

A picture taken on Oct 12, 2020, shows an Israeli soldier walking up to the gate of the Rosh Hanikra Crossing, also known as the Ras Al Naqoura Crossing, between Israel and Lebanon. (Photo: AFP/JALAA MAREY)

NAQOURA, Lebanon: Israel and Lebanon resumed US-mediated talks on Wednesday (Nov 11) over their disputed Mediterranean Sea border, that has held up hydrocarbon exploration in the potentially gas-rich area, a source and Lebanon's state news agency said.

The longtime foes held three rounds of talks last month hosted by the United Nations at a peacekeeper base in southern Lebanon which the UN and the United States had described as "productive".

But sources had said that gaps between the sides remain large after they each presented contrasting maps outlining proposed borders that actually increased the size of the disputed area.

Israel and Lebanon's disputed sea borders. (AFP/Aude GENET) Israel and Lebanon's disputed sea borders AFP/Aude GENET

Israel already pumps gas from huge offshore fields but Lebanon, which has yet to find commercial gas reserves in its own waters, is desperate for cash from foreign donors as it faces the worst economic crisis since its 1975-1990 civil war.

The meetings are the culmination of three years of diplomacy by Washington, and follow a series of deals under which three Arab nations - the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan - agreed to establish full relations with Israel.

Lebanon has said its talks are strictly limited to their disputed boundary.

Source: Reuters/kv

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