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US-brokered maritime border talks with Lebanon to resume next week: Israel

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Israel’s Energy Ministry said on Wednesday it was willing to continue negotiations for setting its maritime border with Lebanon and that talks would resume next week.

Long time foes Lebanon and Israel started indirect negotiations through US mediation in 2020 at a UN peacekeeping base in Lebanon’s Naqoura, but the talks have stalled several times.

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The maritime border dispute has held up exploration in the potentially gas-rich area.

“Lebanon is ready to resume negotiating the demarcation of the southern maritime borders, in a way that preserves the rights and sovereignty of the Lebanese state,” President Michel Aoun said.

Israel was also willing to continue negotiations, the Energy Ministry said, adding that Energy Minister Karine Elharrar would meet US envoy Amos Hochstein next week as part of efforts to settle the dispute.

A senior US State Department told Al Arabiya English that Hochstein would be traveling to Lebanon and Israel in the next two weeks.

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