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FACTDROP: Lebanon presses Cyprus to revise Israeli EEZ agreement


Lebanon presses Cyprus to revise Israeli EEZ agreement

Lebanese Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour appears during a meeting in Beirut.

Πηγή: The Daily Star
April 4 2012

BEIRUT: Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour said Tuesday that contacts with Cyprus are ongoing in an effort to make it reconsider its Exclusive Economic Zone agreement with Israel.

“Contacts are ongoing with Cyprus; there is hope and we should reach [positive] results,” Mansour told The Daily Star.

Israel and Cyprus signed their own EEZ agreement in December 2010.

Under the agreement, Israel’s EEZ boundary with Cyprus begins at point 1, 17 kilometers northeast of point 23, where Lebanon proposed its maritime border with Israel when delineating its EEZ with Cyprus in 2007.

In other words, Israel’s EEZ infringes on a roughly 850-square-kilometer stretch of sea that Lebanon considers within its EEZ.

Two massive offshore natural gas fields were discovered near Haifa, a city in northern Israel, in 2009 and 2010. In March 2010, the U.S. Geological Survey estimated that the Levantine Basin in the eastern Mediterranean, which includes the territorial waters of Lebanon, Israel, Syria and Cyprus, could hold as much as 1.7 billion barrels of recoverable oil and 34.5 trillion cubic meters of gas.

“It [Cyprus] should resolve the matter. It demarcated its maritime border with Israel at the expense of Lebanon,” Mansour said.

In its Tuesday issue, Lebanon’s As-Safir newspaper quoted Lebanese sources as saying that Cypriot officials responded positively during discussions with the Lebanese side.

The sources said that in its demarcation agreement with Israel, Cyprus considered that point 1 would not be finalized before gaining the consent of all concerned parties, including Lebanon.

According to the sources, U.S. Special Coordinator for Regional Affairs Frederic Ho’s visit to Lebanon, Israel and Cyprusin March gave the impression that U.S. oil companies are not willing to make any investment before maritime disputes are resolved.

Mansour also said that Brazil’s Special Envoy to the Middle East Cesario Melantonio Neto had expressed to officials during a visit to Lebanon this week the willingness of his country to help in offshore drilling for gas and oil in Lebanon’s EEZ.

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