Israel has accused Lebanon of changing its position in talks over their controversial maritime border and warned it could lead to a “dead end” that would be detrimental to the entire region.
The two countries, which remain in conflict, paved the way for negotiations on the border dispute under US and UN supervision last month to pave the way for offshore oil and gas exploration.
“Lebanon has changed its position on its maritime border with Israel seven times,” Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz wrote late Thursday.
“His current position contradicts not only his previous position, but also Lebanon’s position on its maritime border with Syria, which takes into account the Lebanese islands near the border,” Steinitz said.
The Lebanese army chief said on Friday that there would be no compromise on the country’s sovereignty in negotiations on the maritime border with Israel.
Israel has recently threatened to invade Lebanon and mingle with nations that have already damaged stability, said Armed Forces Commander General Joseph Aoun, two days before Lebanon’s Independence Day.
77 years of independence and Lebanon is currently going through an unprecedented critical and difficult phase at the political, economic and social levels, the general noted, referring to the recent port catastrophe that took the lives of hundreds of people amid the global coronavirus pandemic.
The army chief said everyone in Lebanon is hoping the military will face the danger and bury the insurgency, vowing that any attempt that threatens civil peace will not be tolerated.
Earlier Thursday, President Michel Aoun demanded the correction of the blue line demarcated at the UN in a meeting with UNIFIL chief of mission Major General Stefano Del Col.
Aoun stressed the need to correct the line separating Lebanon and Israel in order for it to apply to internationally recognized land borders.
The demarcation of the maritime border is based on the line starting at land from Ras Naqoura point in southern Lebanon, according to the general principle known as the midline, regardless of any impact on the occupied Palestinian coastal islands, a presidency statement said.
Israel and Lebanon have negotiated based on a map recorded at the United Nations in 2011, which shows an 860 km2 (330 square miles) of land as disputed.
However, Lebanon considers that map based on erroneous estimates.
Lebanon is now seeking an additional 1,430 km2 (552 square miles) of sea further south, which includes part of Israel’s Karish gas field, according to Lebanese energy expert Laury Haytayan.
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