Lebanon Officially Sets Starting Point In Border Talks With Israel

Lebanon Officially Sets Starting Point In Border Talks With Israel

In a move that confirms a stance that increases the disputed region, Lebanese President Michel Aoun specified Lebanon’s starting point for the U.S.-mediated maritime border demarcation with Israel.

The stance, which Aoun revealed in a statement on Thursday, comes nearly a month after the first negotiation session was held in the headquarters of UNIFIL in South Lebanon.

“The demarcation of the maritime borders is done on the basis of the line that starts overland from the point of Ras Al-Naqoura, according to the general principle known as the median line, without taking into account any impact of the occupied Palestinian coastal islands,” the statement read.

This version of the demarcation line abides by the borders defined under the 1923 agreement between the British and French governments at the start of the French Mandate for Syria and Lebanon.

A security source told Reuters that this position extends the disputed area to nearly 2,300 square km from the initial area of 860 square km.

After meeting President Aoun, Head of Mission and Force Commander of UNIFIL Maj. Gen. Stefano Del Col said: “We are satisfied with the ongoing negotiations to demarcate the southern maritime border.”

In the meeting, Aoun expressed hope that the negotiations will be fruitful and that Lebanon “will restore all its rights based on international law.”

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