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Israel-Lebanon maritime border talks postponed, officials say

Israel-Lebanon maritime border talks postponed, officials say

An aircraft flies over a base for UN peacekeepers of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) in Naqoura, near the Lebanese-Israeli border, southern Lebanon Oct 29, 2020. (Photo: REUTERS/Aziz Taher)

BEIRUT: Talks between Israel and Lebanon over disputed maritime borders that were scheduled to take place this week have been postponed, Israeli and Lebanese officials said on Monday (Nov 30).

The two countries have engaged in indirect, US-mediated talks to draw a sea border, despite formally being in a state of war. The last round of talks were held in November and hosted in by the United Nations in a southern Lebanese border town.

The negotiations are the first non-security related talks between the two states.

READ: Lebanon, Israel start landmark maritime border talks

An Israeli official confirmed that Wednesday’s scheduled summit was postponed, and said the American mediators “decided to focus on dialogue between the two sides at the moment, in order to prepare the ground for the next round of talks". The official spoke on condition of anonymity as the official wasn't authorised to speak to journalists.

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

In Beirut, a Lebanese official confirmed that the talks have been postponed until further notice. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations, did not give a reason for the postponement and also did not elaborate.

READ: Lebanon sets starting point for sea border negotiations with Israel

The sides are negotiating their disputed maritime borders that involve potentially lucrative offshore oil and gas deals.

Israel has already developed offshore natural gas rigs in its economic waters, and has started producing enough for domestic consumption and export abroad. Lebanon hopes that oil and gas discoveries in its Mediterranean Sea waters could help alleviate its economic and financial crises.

Source: Reuters/kv

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