UN chief Ban Ki-moon
Photo: AP

UN to intervene in Israel-Lebanon naval dispute?

Lebanese paper reports, high-ranking UN official willing to intervening in demarcation of sea border to prevent escalation

The United Nations is ready to get involved in the dispute over Lebanon and Israel’s maritime borders, Lebanese newspaper The Daily Star reported Friday.


A senior diplomatic source told the paper that high-ranking UN officials were “open” to the idea of intervening in the demarcation of a sea border between Lebanon and Israel, in order to allow each country to legitimately commence natural gas exploration.



“The point of getting a border in place is to avoid sources of conflict. And this is the major source of conflict,” the source said.


Meanwhile, UNIFIL forces are working to establish a naval security strip in coordination with Lebanon and Israel. “This will help maritime security and prevent hostile activities,” UNIFIL spokesperson Andrea Tenenti told The Daily Star.


He nevertheless stressed that UNIFIL's involvement would only apply to matters of security and not that of natural resources. “UNIFIL has no mandate to demarcate the line. A boundary is for the states to decide,” he said.


Last week, Israel decided to present its position on the matter before the United Nations. Israel claims that the border should be drawn further to the north leaving it with territory which some estimate contains natural gas reserves.


Israel claimed that the coordinates provided to the UN by Lebanon do not match those stipulated in the border agreement Beirut signed with Cyprus in 2007.


This prompted outrage in Lebanon, with statements on the matter coming from Lebanese President Michel Suleiman and Hezbollah secretary general.



פרסום ראשון: 07.22.11, 13:34
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