Lebanese President Aoun Rejects ’Israeli’ Accusations over Maritime Border
By Staff, Agencies
Lebanese President Michel Aoun Friday dismissed as unfounded “Israeli” accusations of Lebanon changing its position seven times at talks on the disputed maritime borders with the “Israeli” entity.
"Lebanon's stance is firm on the maritime demarcation of the southern borders, in accordance with President Aoun's directives to the Lebanon delegation" at the talks, the presidency said in a statement.
An “Israeli” minister had accused Lebanon of changing its position in border times, warning it could lead to a "dead end" that would be damaging for the whole region.
Lebanon and the “Israeli” entity opened indirect negotiations on the border dispute under US and UN auspices last month to clear the way for offshore oil and gas exploration.
"Lebanon has changed its stance on its maritime border with ‘Israel’ seven times," the entity’s so-called Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz tweeted late Thursday.
"Its current position contradicts not only its previous one, but also Lebanon's stance on its maritime border with Syria, which takes into account Lebanese islands close to the border," Steinitz said.
Earlier Thursday, Aoun had set out his country's position on the maritime border, which he said should be "based on the line that departs on land from the point of Ras Naqoura".
The demarcation should be "according to the general principle known as the median line, without taking into account any impact of the occupied Palestinian coastal islands," Aoun tweeted, referring to the “Israeli”-occupied Palestinian coastline.
The Lebanese presidency Friday dismissed the “Israeli” accusations of Lebanon changing its position seven times as "unfounded".
The entity and Lebanon have been negotiating based on a map registered with the United Nations in 2011, which shows an 860-square-kilometer patch of sea as being disputed.
But Lebanon considers that map to have been based on wrong estimates.
Aoun's tweet Thursday confirms that Lebanon is now demanding an additional 1,430 square kilometers of sea further south, which includes part of the entity’s Karish gas field, said Lebanese energy expert Laury Haytayan.