Israel open to US-led talks with Lebanon over border dispute

Steinitz “expressed Israel’s openness’” to negotiations “for the benefit of both countries’ interests in developing natural gas reserves and oil.”

27 May 2019 | 19:22

Source: Associated Press

  • Source: Associated Press
  • Last update: 27 May 2019 | 19:22

U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State David Satterfield, left, speaks during his meeting with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, in Beirut, Lebanon, Tuesday, May 14, 2019. (AP Photo)

JERUSALEM: Israel said it’s willing to engage in U.S.-mediated talks with Lebanon to resolve a border dispute over a sliver of the Mediterranean Sea seen as rich with energy resources.

Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz said he met Monday with U.S. envoy David Satterfield, who has shuttled between the countries with the aim of demarcating their maritime boundary over past weeks.

Steinitz “expressed Israel’s openness’” to negotiations “for the benefit of both countries’ interests in developing natural gas reserves and oil.”

Israel and Lebanon, technically still at war, each claim some 860 square kilometers (330 square miles) of sea as within their own exclusive economic zones.

Earlier this month, Lebanese President Michel Aoun said he presented Satterfied with Lebanon’s “united stance” and encouraged U.S. diplomatic involvement.

Satterfied returns to Beirut on Tuesday.

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