Lebanon will not give up its maritime rights, Beirut's Minister of Energy Gebran Bassil warned Sunday, in wake of a move by Israel to set maritime borders.
Sunday morning saw the Israeli cabinet ratify an agreement with Cyprus to that effect. The borders delineate an area thought to contain natural gas as well as oil reserves.
Lebanon rejected the borders set by the two countries, claiming they infringe on its naval territory.
Gebran warned Israel against violating Lebanon’s maritime borders, saying it "will face a big problem. Lebanon will not abandon its maritime border.
"The borderline is clear, whether on the land or at sea," he told the Lebanese daily As-Safir.
Gebran further said that exploring the natural resources within Lebanon’s maritime border is "a scientific matter and falls under the rule of international law." He added Lebanon will not hesitate to take the matter up at the United Nations.
"Lebanon will not give up its maritime energy rights or its maritime rights in general," he said, further accusing the announcement as being "a prelude to an aggressive step by Israel… We are familiar with (Israel's) aggression against our maritime space, air and land, and now against our (gas) rights.
"Lebanon has drawn its maritime borders based on the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). Israel has yet to sign it and must respect international law by acceding to the Convention," Bassil stressed.
The Lebanese ministers said that "as long as Israel respects international law there will not be any problem. We are not prejudice. We'll see what Israel has to say in the UN."
AFP contributed to this report