Lebanese and Israeli negotiations over the maritime border demarcation are set to continue Thursday morning at 10 a.m., the state-run National News Agency said Wednesday, after the second round of talks concluded in south Lebanon.
For the Wednesday talks, the Lebanese side adopted a maximalist stance that brings part of an Israeli gas field into disputed territory.
Lebanon's mixed civilian-military delegation, headed by Navy Col. Mazen Basbous, arrived by helicopter and has been directed by the Lebanese Army commander to push for an additional 1,430 square kilometers to be included in Lebanese territory.
This is on top of the already disputed 860 square kilometer area that both sides say is in their respective Exclusive Economic Zone and brings what is now an Israeli gas field into disputed territory.
It also lays claim to Israel's Block 72, which sits off the country's northern shores at the edge of the earlier 860 square kilometer disputed zone.
Israel's Energy Ministry said Wednesday that the talks sought to "assess the possibility of reaching an agreement on demarcating the maritime border ... in a manner enabling the cultivation of natural resources in the area."
Israel in June invited energy companies to bid for exploration rights in Block 72 and was supposed to announce the successful bidder Monday. Production in the now disputed Karish gas field was scheduled to take place imminently, with Greek energy company Energean expecting to draw first gas from it in the second half of 2021.
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Source: The Daily Star