Leviathan offshore rig
Photo: Albatross
Israel sets maritime borders
Cabinet ratifies agreement with Cyprus setting borders around area thought to contain natural gas, oil reserves. Lieberman slams Lebanese rejection of borders: 'Hezbollah looking for friction, but we won't give up what is rightfully ours'

The Cabinet on Sunday ratified an agreement with Cyprus which sets Israel's maritime borders.


Lebanon has rejected the borders set by the two countries, claiming the state is impinging on its naval territory, but Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Israel would not cede "one centimeter".



Lieberman also denied reports that the US supports Lebanon's claims, calling them "nonsense".


"We have already concluded an agreement on this issue with Cyprus... Lebanon, under pressure from Hezbollah, is looking for friction, but we will not give up any part of what is rightfully ours," he said in a radio interview.


The borders delineate an area thought to contain natural gas as well as oil reserves.


Infrastructure Minister Uzi Landau said the Lebanese government was being petty. "If they have complaints with nothing but goodwill and neighborly desire for coexistence they must take steps just like any other civilized country – and hold clarifications and negotiations with us," he said.


Landau added that Israel had constructed a professional agreement by working with "international law experts and experts from the Cypriot government".


"The border between us and them has been unequivocally set – this is our legally and professionally-based opinion that will be placed on the table of the UN," he said.


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stressed the economic benefits that could come from setting the borders.


"The border delimits the state's economic rights, including the right to make use of natural resources at sea. The border Lebanon achieved in the UN is set significantly southward of the one offered by Israel, it conflicts with the borders set by Israel and Cyprus and, surprisingly, the borders Lebanon itself has set with Cyprus. Our goal is to set the lines in keeping with the principles of international law," he said.



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