BEIRUT — A senior U.S. official who has been mediating the maritime border dispute between Israel and Lebanon met with Lebanese officials Wednesday for a second day, signaling a new push to resolve the matter.
Israel and Lebanon both claim some 330 square miles of the Mediterranean Sea. Lebanon hopes to unleash offshore oil and gas production as it grapples with an economic crisis. Washington is mediating between the two countries, which have been officially at war since Israel’s creation in 1948.
Acting Assistant Secretary of State David Satterfield met Wednesday with Lebanese President Michel Aoun, Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri and Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil. He also met with Prime Minister Saad Hariri for a second time on the visit.
Israel and Lebanon also disagree over their land borders.
The U.S. had asked the Lebanese for a “unified position,” signaling that some in the country were ready to separate the two issues.
Aoun said he informed Satterfield that Lebanon believes demarcating the maritime and land borders reinforces stability in the area and urged Washington to help while respecting his country’s frontiers and right to explore for oil and gas.
Speaking to lawmakers after the meeting, Berri described the meeting as “positive” and said it would be followed up. He said things are moving in the right direction because of the Lebanese “unified” position that protects maritime and land borders, according to his remarks published in the state National News Agency.
Print Headline: Envoy in Lebanon to mediate dispute