Lebanon-Israel maritime border talks resume: UN source

Lebanon and Israel resumed their US-mediated indirect talks on Tuesday over a long-standing dispute on sea borders at the UN headquarters in Naqoura, a source of the world body confirmed.

The highly sensitive talks come amid a row between Lebanon and Israel stemming from differing methods of demarcation of 856 square kilometres of shared waters.

US Ambassador to Algeria John Desrocher, who arrived in Beirut on Monday, has been acting as a mediator at the talks, the source told dpa news agency.

Four previous rounds have been held since October 14, 2020.

Talks stopped as Lebanon seeks to expand the disputed area with Israel to reach some 2,290 instead of 860 square kilometres.

The meeting is being held at the Naqoura headquarters of the UN Interim Forces in Southern Lebanon (UNIFIL).

The dispute between Lebanon and Israel has escalated after natural gas discoveries in the Mediterranean Sea, as both countries claim gas deposits there for themselves.

Lebanon signed its first offshore drilling agreement with an international consortium in 2018, though exploration of the area called Block 9 has not yet begun due to the controversy over its ownership.

Israel and Lebanon are officially at war, and there are recurring tensions along the border between the Israeli army and the Lebanese Iran-backed Hezbollah movement.