BEIRUT, Feb. 8 – Lebanese Public Works and Transport Minister Youssef Fenianos announced Thursday a project to establish an international port in south Lebanon’s Naqoura to “revive the villages bordering the south.”
It was a “resistance project to face Israeli ambitions,” Fenianos said at a press conference.
“We must prove every day to the enemy that we are ready to confront them,” Fenianos said
Fenianos represents in the cabinet the Marada movement which is headed by MP Suleiman Franjieh , a key ally of Hezbollah
The proposed area of Naqoura is close to Lebanon’s oil and gas Block 9. In December, Lebanon approved a bid by a consortium of France’s Total, Italy’s ENI and Russia’s Novatek for two of the five blocks put up for tender in the country’s much-delayed first oil and gas offshore licensing round.
However, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said last week that oil and gas exploration projects in Lebanon’s maritime Block 9 were “very provocative” and called on international companies not to carry out work. Some of Block 9 falls in a border area that is disputed between Lebanon and Israel.
Lebanon has been vocal in asking for the UN’s assistance in designating a triangular, 870-square-kilometer area of disputed territory on the southern maritime border. However, Israel opposes the involvement of external mediators in the matter.
The Israeli defense minister’s stance drew a strong rebuttal from Lebanon, with the Higher Defense Council Wednesday ordering all necessary action to confront any Israeli aggression on the land or sea border.