Lebanon’s lower house of parliament approved on Thursday a proposed law on the demarcation of the country’s maritime boundary, amid fears of conflict
with Israel over an area potentially rich in gas.
The draft law defines Lebanon’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), which is a sea zone that gives a state the right to explore its maritime resources, a source told AFP.
Tensions rose last month after Israel’s cabinet approved a map of the country’s proposed maritime borders with Lebanon and submitted it to the United Nations, which has been asked to mediate.
The map conflicts with one submitted by Lebanon to the UN last year and that gives Israel less territory.
The Lebanese say their map is in line with an armistice accord drawn up in 1949 and not contested by Israel.
They also challenge Israel’s assertion that an accord signed in 2007 between Cyprus and Lebanon sets the same boundaries as those agreed between the Jewish state and Cyprus in 2010.
The disputed zone consists of about 854 square kilometres (330 square miles), and important energy reserves there could generate billions of dollars.