Lebanon is ready to resume talks over a maritime border dispute with Israel, the country’s president, Michel Aoun, said on Wednesday.
Longtime foes Israel and Lebanon have no diplomatic relations and are technically in a state of war. They each claim about 860 square kilometers (330 square miles) of the Mediterranean Sea as being within their exclusive economic zones.
The two countries started indirect negotiations through a US mediator in 2020 at a UN peacekeeping base in Lebanon’s Naqoura, but the talks have stalled several times. The last round of talks on the matter was held last May.
Lebanon has sunk deep into an economic and financial crisis that started in late 2019 — a culmination of decades of corruption and mismanagement by the political class. The small Mediterranean country is eager to resolve its border dispute with Israel, paving the way for potential lucrative oil and gas deals.
Israel’s Energy Ministry said in response that it is ready to resume talks, with Israeli officials quoted by the Kan public broadcaster as saying, “For us, the negotiations never been stopped. But Lebanon must stop raising new demands.”