Saturday, August 13, 2022

Mediterranean: Lebanon and Israel dispute over access to Karish gas field

 Lebanese party and militia leader Hassan Nasrallah was issued a warning to Isreal to claim the gas field for itself, writes SPIEGEL:

In the border dispute over gas deposits in the Mediterranean, the head of the radical Islamic Hezbollah militia in Lebanon, Hassan Nasrallah, has warned Israel against claiming them for itself. "The hand that reaches out for our riches will be cut off," the head of the Iran-backed militia said in a televised speech in Beirut on Tuesday. This is reported by the AFP news agency.

Nobody should be allowed "to plunder the country," said the Hezbollah chief in his speech to supporters. Lebanon's oil, gas and water supplies would have to remain under Lebanese control.

The USA is currently mediating in the smoldering and recently escalated border dispute between Israel and Lebanon over mineral resources in the Mediterranean – so far without a result. US mediator Amos Hochstein told the Lebanese media in early August that he was "optimistic" and was aiming for a solution for both sides. Accordingly, Israel should be able to continue its activities in the Karisch gas field and at the same time allow Lebanon access to the energy market.

The conflict escalated after Israel sent a gas production vessel towards the Karish gas field in June. However, parts of the gas field are claimed by Lebanon. Beirut then called for the resumption of talks mediated by the United States.

The discovery of large gas deposits in the eastern Mediterranean in recent years has aroused the desires of all the neighboring countries and fueled border disputes. From Israel's perspective, the gas field lies within its territorial waters and not within a disputed area at stake in negotiations with Lebanon over the maritime border between the two countries.

Lebanon and Israel negotiated their disputed sea border for the first time in October 2020, mediated by the United States. Negotiations were suspended in May 2021. The border dispute was initially about an 860 square kilometer stretch off the coast of both countries, and finally Lebanon demanded an additional 1,430 square kilometers, which also includes the Karisch field.

Formally, the neighboring countries are still at war and do not maintain diplomatic relations. The United Nations peacekeeping force Unifil, stationed in Lebanon since 1978, has patrolled the border since the 2006 Israeli-Lebanese conflict.

No comments:

Post a Comment