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Lebanon united on rights to natural resources

Mariam Saleh
Press TV, Beirut

Senior US advisor for energy security Amos Hochstein met high-ranking Lebanese officials in Beirut. During the talks, Lebanese officials said conditions for talks are confidential, but stressed their main demand is Lebanon maintain its right to defend its natural resources.

The conflict over petrol and gas fields began more than 10 years ago when the US proposed the so-called Hoff line which is lower than line 23 stripping Lebanon of some 860 square kilometers.

President Michel Aoun, Prime Minister Mikati and Speaker Nabih Berri all stressed a unified stance for Lebanon that the country will not concede its right to begin drilling off shore.

A recent move by Israel to attempt drilling in the Karish field which falls within line 29 has led to opposition from Beirut. Hezbollah’s secretary general sayyed Hassan Nasrallah has also warned the floating petrol company Energean against drilling in that area as long as it is disputed and also cautioned that Israeli drilling could reach depths closer to potentially gas rich Lebanese fields.

Lebanon's main dilemma now is that time is running out while its resources could be looted at any time. Analysts believe the officials need to firstly demand that the US lift its undeclared blockade and allow contracted companies to implement their obligations and drill in purely Lebanese fields.

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