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June 19, 2019 4:28 pm

Israeli Minister Sees US-Mediated Lebanese Sea Border Talks in Weeks

avatar by Reuters and Algemeiner Staff

The Israel-Lebanon border at Rosh Hanikra. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Israel expects US-mediated talks with Lebanon on setting their maritime border to be launched within a month, Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steintiz said on Wednesday.

Lebanon has not commented publicly on whether it would attend talks or on any possible timeline.

“I hope that in the next month, during this summer, that we will begin negotiations,” Steinitz told Israeli Channel Reshet 13. “They said that yes, they are prepared to sit and solve the dispute but there are still the terms (to be agreed).”

The US, which has been sending a senior envoy on shuttle missions between Israel and Lebanon, also has not announced a date or venue but said it is prepared to help them resolve the dispute.

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Formally at war since Israel‘s 1948 founding, the neighbors have long disagreed on border demarcations in the eastern Mediterranean, an issue that gained prominence in the past decade when large deposits of natural gas were found there.

Steinitz said that it was likely that as soon as the talks begin, energy groups operating in both Israeli and Lebanese waters will be able to carry out the first seismological survey of the disputed area.

He said that he expected an agreement between the two countries to be reached within six to nine months.

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