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Israel Seeking UN Opinion on Maritime Border Dispute with Lebanon

According to Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Tel Aviv will shortly seek a UN opinion on its Mediterranean maritime borders with Lebanon.

The Israeli’s governmental request would be an extraordinary move, giving its constant complaining about UN arbitrariness over the past five decades.

At issue are recently discovered offshore gas fields, the frontiers of which Lebanon heatedly disputes.

Lieberman told the Israeli media, "We will soon be presenting the United Nations headquarters in New York with our position on our maritime borders. We have already concluded an agreement on this issue with Cyprus... Lebanon, under pressure from Hezbollah, is looking for friction, but we will not give up any part of what is rightfully ours."

Lebanon argues the offshore gas fields are inside its territorial waters as delineated by the 1982 United Nations conference on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS convention) and, as Israel does not have officially demarcated maritime borders with Lebanon, the two countries technically remain at war, NOW Lebanon news agency reported.

The two biggest known offshore natural gas fields prospected so far, Tamar and Leviathan, lie off Israel's northern city of Haifa.

The fiscal implications of the dispute are immense, as the Tamar field is believed to hold at least 238 billion cubic meters of extractable natural gas reserves, while Leviathan site is believed to have reserves of 450 billion cubic meters.

Lebanon has warned Israel against taking "unilateral steps" on its maritime borders, with Lebanese President Michel Suleiman cautioning the Israeli government against taking unilateral actions of "the kind that Israel commonly makes in violation of international law."

By. Joao Peixe, Deputy Editor OilPrice.com


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