Lebanon and Israel are resuming talks between the US over a dispute over their border over the Mediterranean Sea and continuing to explore hydrocarbon in the oil-rich region.
The talks, among the countries still at war, began at the UN in the town of Naqura in southern Lebanon, the National News Agency said on Tuesday.
Lebanon and Israel participated in non-negotiable border talks last year. But it was suspended when Lebanon sought more land, including a share of Karish gas, while Israel granted free exploration to a Greek company.
The talks last year are expected to discuss Lebanon’s demand for 860sq km (330 square miles) of disputed territories, according to a map submitted to the United Nations in 2011.
However, Lebanon said the map took the wrong calculation and reported 1,430sq km (552 square kilometers) to the south, including the Karish section.
“The talks will start where we left off,” a source told Lebanon’s president at AFP on Tuesday. He said Israel and Lebanon also wanted different borders.
“We do not accept the line that they tell us, and they also do not accept ours, so we will see what the mediator tells us.”
Last month, Lebanese President Michel Aoun told Israel to suspend all investigations in Karish until the conflict was over.
In February 2018, Lebanon signed its first oil and gas drilling agreement in the 4th and 9th countries, with an agreement to produce giants Total, ENI and Novatek.
Lebanon in April said the initial drill of Block 4 showed oil but there is no market for it.
Washington said Friday that the talks would be rescheduled by US Ambassador John Desrocher, and said the resumption of talks was “a good step towards realizing the hope that has been waiting for us.”
Desrocher arrived in Beirut on Monday night to take part in the talks, according to The Associated Press.
Lebanese politicians hope that hydrocarbons from the Lebanese coast will help solve the financial crisis in a country that has been in debt for many years.
But the Lebanese government resigned following a major explosion in the Beirut port in August 2020, and politicians who were extremely divided failed to form a new cabinet.