Aoun called on the United States to "work on preventing Israel from continuing its assaults on Lebanese sovereignty," saying Beirut sticks to its internationally-recognized borders and dismissed Israeli claims to a disputed maritime zone.
The president has underscored that the offshore energy blocks are located in Lebanon's waters and thus are within Beirut's exclusive economic zone. Aoun discussed the highly contentious issue with the US Secretary of State, who is currently in Beirut.
Secretary Tillerson discussed with President Aoun and Foreign Affairs Minister Bassil the US-Lebanese bilateral relations, reiterating the US support for Lebanese state institutions, especially the @LebarmyOfficial, and for a strong, stable and prosperous #Lebanon @LBpresidency pic.twitter.com/PfYTHfyF25— U.S. Embassy Beirut (@usembassybeirut) 15 февраля 2018 г.
The tension between Israel and Lebanon has increased after Beirut backed provisions for the right to explore two energy blocks, namely, Block 4 and Block 9, by a consortium of foreign energy companies. The Israeli authorities have protested the move with Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman saying that the zone was Tel Aviv's "by any definition." Aoun then said that the Israeli claim threatened Lebanon.