| 23 February 2024, Friday |

New Israeli government’s first official stance regarding border’s demarcation with Lebanon.

Within the framework of the indirect talks between Israel and Lebanon about their disputed maritime borders, the Israeli Energy Minister, Karen Harrar, met on Wednesday, with the American mediator John Desrocher, according to the ” Times of Israel”  website .

“Despite Israel’s strong legal case, we are ready to consider creative solutions to end this file,” Harrar  who took office this week, told DeRocher about the indirect negotiations, which is the first official stance in this regard.

On Sunday, the Israeli Knesset gave confidence to the new coalition government in Israel, which will be headed by Naftali Bennett and Yair Lapid, alternately for two years each, with the approval of 60 deputies, while 59 members expressed their rejection and one deputy abstained from voting.

The meeting was joined by the interim head of the US Embassy in Israel, Michael Ratney, and the Director-General of the Ministry of Energy, Udi Adiri.

Harrar stressed that “the ongoing negotiations with Lebanon are of paramount importance despite the recent government transition.” The Minister of Energy also considered that the goal of the negotiations is to find a solution to the maritime border dispute “that will enable the development of natural resources for the benefit of people in the region.”

Desrocher had met last Monday with Lebanese President Michel Aoun, who informed the US side that he is keen to pursue negotiations, stressing “the pressure for fair talks without preconditions.”

In 2018, Lebanon signed its first gas and oil exploration contract in two of its territorial waters in the part disputed with Israel.

Lebanon and Israel agreed to start negotiations after years of diplomatic efforts led by Washington. The first round of talks, which Lebanon insists are technical and indirect, were held in October 2020.