Lebanese President Michel Aoun and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad discussed outlining their nations’ shared maritime border on Saturday, according to a Lebanese official.
Last year, a dispute over their shared sea boundary arose after Syria gave a license to a Russian energy company to begin maritime exploration in an area claimed by Lebanon. The eastern Mediterranean has seen several gas discoveries.
Aoun earlier said demarcating the border would be next after Lebanon agreed its southern maritime boundary with longtime foe Israel following years of indirect U.S.-mediated talks.
Aoun told Assad that Lebanon was keen “to begin negotiations with Syria to delineate its northern maritime boundary,” the Lebanese official told Reuters after Saturday’s talks.
Syria’s Sham FM radio reported that details of the delineation had yet to be discussed and that Assad proposed holding direct talks via the countries’ foreign ministries.
The two leaders discussed delineation last year.
Aoun’s term as president of Lebanon, which is the midst of a deep political and economic crisis, ends on Oct. 31. Three parliamentary sessions have failed to elect a successor.
Assad secured another seven-year term last year in an election derided by Syria’s opposition and the West as a farce. The vote was held after the government regained control of much of the territory lost to opponents in a conflict that erupted in 2011.