Guterres Welcomes Israel, Lebanon Boundary Dispute Talks



United Nations  Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has welcomed moves by Israel and Lebanon to resolve their longstanding maritime boundary dispute.

On Wednesday, the two sides opened discussions on the demarcation of about 860 square kilometres of the Mediterranean Sea they each claim as their exclusive economic zone.

U.S. officials mediated the opening round held at the headquarters of the United Nations Interim Force In Lebanon (UNIFIL) in the Lebanese border town of Naqoura.

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In a statement by his spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, Guterres said the launch of talks followed the “framework agreement announced on Oct. 1, 2020’’.

“The United Nations through its representatives is fully committed to supporting the parties in the discussions, as requested by them, as they work towards a final agreed outcome,’’ he said.

Media reports say that after Wednesday’s session that lasted an hour, the two parties agreed to meet again at the end of October.

However, they noted that the series of discussions were purely technical and should not be mistaken for an attempt to forge ties between them, reports say.

There are no diplomatic ties between Israel and Lebanon, which are still technically in a state of war.

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