Israel agrees to U.S.-mediated maritime talks with Lebanon

lebanon offshore oil, gas blocksIsrael is willing to enter U.S.-mediated talks with Lebanon on setting a maritime border, the Energy Ministry said today.

Minister Yuval Steinitz “expressed Israel’s willingness for a round of Israeli-Lebanese talks mediated by the U.S., in an effort to set a maritime border for the benefit of both countries’ interests in the development of natural gas and oil reservoirs,” the ministry said in a text message.

The two countries, which do not have diplomatic relations, have competing claims to a disputed maritime area said to be rich in oil and gas.

World Oil