Israel-Lebanon Maritime Border Talks in Question

“In a week, 10 days we will know finally if we are on the way to talks or if this matter will be postponed by another one, two or three years,” said Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz

The efforts to initiate negotiations between Israel and Lebanon on a maritime border have hit a wall, Reuters reported.

Israel and Lebanon 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. Lebanon insists that any demarcation of its sea boundary with Israel be implemented only as part of a wider package including the land border – something Israel has previously ruled out.

“(The) Lebanese on the one hand really want to develop their natural resources, and the unresolved dispute with Israel is disruptive for them – for us too, but for them more,” Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz told Tel Aviv radio station 102 FM.

The Israeli minister added that Lebanon might be facing “internal pressure, that they (are) under the sway of fear of Hezbollah.”

Steinitz said Lebanon had yet to formally refuse the overture for mediation. “In a week, 10 days we will know finally if we are on the way to talks or if this matter will be postponed by another one, two or three years,” he said.