UN stays out of Israel-Lebanon gas dispute

UN spokesman:We are talking about two different things - coastal waters and a disputed maritime border.

A week after the Leviathan partners announced the results of the well, Lebanon asked the UN to supervise the demarcation of Israel's maritime borders at oil and gas wells. Lebanese Foreign Minister Ali Shami called on the UN to protect Lebanon's territorial rights in the Middle East in areas Israel where plans to drill for oil and gas.

In a letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Shami said, "We request you to do everything possible to ensure Israel does not exploit Lebanon's hydrocarbon resources, which fall within Lebanon's economic zone as delineated in the maps the foreign ministry submitted to the UN in 2010. Any exploitation by Israel of this resource is a flagrant violation of international law and an attack on Lebanese sovereignty."

In June 2010, the speaker of the Lebanese parliament said that Israel's gas wells encroached on Lebanon's economic zone. In response, Minister of National Infrastructures Uzi Landau said that the natural gas discoveries were wholly within Israel's exclusive economic zone.

The UN was quick to respond to Lebanon's request. UN spokesman Martin Nesirsky said that the UN would not intervene in the gas dispute between Israel and Lebanon. He said that mandate of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) did not include delineating maritime borders. "Security Council Resolution 1701 does not include delineating the maritime border. We are talking about two different things - coastal waters and a disputed maritime border."

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on January 5, 2011

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2011

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