Lebanon Wants To Start Drilling For Oil To Pressure Israel

Lebanon Wants To Start Drilling For Oil To Pressure Israel
TDS/Mohamad Azakir

wants oil companies to begin drilling for oil at its southern maritime border in a response to conditions set by , Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper reported on Friday.

As an alternate plan to resume maritime border demarcation talks with Israel, has requested that the United Nations encourages oil companies that have struck contracts with to immediately commence work.

This move serves to twist Israel‘s arm into resuming the negotiations that came to a stop after Israel accused of changing its position on the talks multiple times.

“Starting with this work is among the most important assistance to be provided to at this stage,” Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri has told U.N. Deputy Special Coordinator for  and Coordinator for Humanitarian Affairs Najat Rushdie, as per the newspaper.

, which is reeling from an unprecedented economic crisis, hopes to boost its frail economy with oil and gas.

Yuval Steinitz, Israel‘s energy minister, recently expressed Israel‘s willingness to reach a solution with regarding the border talks, so long as Beirut was willing to show “lenience.”

, however, has maintained that it will not cede the area that it claimed during the U.S.-mediated negotiations.

“will not give up its rights in the file of demarcating its borders, even if the negotiations require 10 or 20 years,” Lebanese caretaker Foreign Minister Charbel Wehbe stressed in December, during a statement to a local TV station.

The indirect negotiations have lacked progress since the dispute about ’s claims emerged in November.

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