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December 22, 2020 1:08 pm

Israel and Lebanon Remain ‘Far Apart’ in Sea Border Talks, Pompeo Says

avatar by Algemeiner Staff and Agencies

UNIFIL peacekeepers drive in a vehicle in Naqoura, in southern Lebanon, near the border with Israel, Oct. 13, 2020. Photo: Reuters / Aziz Taher.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Tuesday that Israel and Lebanon were still “far apart” in the maritime border negotiations they had been holding recently, but noted that the US would continue to push for a deal.

“Earlier this year, the Israeli and Lebanese governments sought US assistance in mediating an agreement on their maritime boundary,” Pompeo stated. “Such an agreement would offer potentially significant economic benefits to the people of both countries. ”

“Regrettably, despite goodwill on both sides, the parties remain far apart,” he noted. “The United States remains ready to mediate constructive discussions and urges both sides to negotiate based on the respective maritime claims both have previously deposited at the United Nations.”

The negotiations began October, with Israeli and Lebanese delegations convening at a UN base to try to resolve a dispute about their Mediterranean Sea boundary that has held up hydrocarbon exploration in the potentially gas-rich area.

At the end of November, it was announced that further talks would be postponed temporarily.

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