BEIRUT (Dispatches) – Lebanon and the Zionist regime have agreed to UN- and U.S.-mediated indirect talks over a maritime dispute, Speaker of the Lebanese Parliament Nabih Berri has announced.
The occupying regime’s energy minister Yuval Steinitz also confirmed the talks, telling reporters negotiations would start after 9 October.
Lebanese Army officials will reportedly carry out the negotiations, speaking indirectly to a delegation from the occupied territories, through UN and U.S. officials, under the supervision of the Mediterranean state’s president and government.
The planned negotiations between Lebanon and the Zionist regime, which are still officially at war, come after nearly three years of "intense diplomatic engagement” which helped formulate a framework agreement, a U.S. official said.
Berri, however, re-iterated to reporters that the framework for talks was not an official agreement and that the ultimate aim was to tackle the maritime dispute with the occupying regime.
The dispute, which is over 330 square miles of the Mediterranean Sea that both Lebanon and the Zionist regime claim, is a particularly sensitive issue due to the possible presence of untapped fuel reserves.
Both the Zionist regime and Cyprus have already begun mining offshore gas in areas of the eastern Mediterranean, but Lebanon has so far found only non-commercially viable traces of fuel in undisputed blocks.
Potential fuel reserves in Lebanese waters, however, have long been billed as an economic lifeline for the crisis-ridden country, but plans to explore blocks eight, nine and ten have stalled over ownership disputes.
Lebanon and the Zionist regime currently have tense bilateral relations, with Zionist troops repeatedly violating Lebanon’s air, sea, and land sovereignty and using Lebanese airspace to launch strikes at Syria to hamper Hezbollah and Syrian government’s efforts to uproot terrorists.
In July, Hezbollah said in a statement that one of its members had been martyred in an airstrike by the Zionist regime in the south of Syria’s capital Damascus. In response, Hezbollah issued an official warning of retaliation.