05:10 GMT06 March 2021
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    BEIRUT (Sputnik) - Israel's intent to explore for oil and gas in an offshore area that is subject to a territorial dispute between it and Lebanon is fraught with exacerbating the tensions, Lebanese President Michel Aoun said on Monday.

    "Israel’s oil and gas exploration, in the disputed area with Lebanon, is a very serious matter. We will not allow encroachment on our internally recognised internal waters", Aoun said at a meeting with a delegation of the Roman Catholic Melkite Bishops, as quoted in a press release on his official website.

    According to press release, Aoun "stressed that the issue is extremely dangerous and likely to complicate the situation."

    Israel and Lebanon lack a demarcated maritime border. For decades now, various mediators including the United Nations and the United States, attempted in vain to help them reach a consensus. The discovery of large oil reserves in the disputed area only further complicated the dispute.

    Last week, the Israeli government announced plans to begin drilling in the so-called Block 72 that is located in the disputed territorial waters in the Eastern Mediterranean in vicinity of Lebanon's own Block 9 where it is due to start exploring for gas in the coming months.

    oil, Lebanon, Israel
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