Lebanon president delays declaration on waters disputed with Israel

Lebanon president delays declaration on waters disputed with Israel
1 min read
14 April, 2021
Lebanese President Michel Aoun has refused to consent to a plan to expand Lebanon's maritime borders amid ongoing disputes with Israel and Syria in the eastern Mediterranean.
Lebanon is asserting its claims to territorial waters amid a deep economic crisis [STR/NurPhoto/Getty]
Lebanese President Michel Aoun refused to give executive consent to an edict on Tuesday which would extend Lebanon’s territorial waters, saying this must instead receive the backing of all ministers in the country's government, Reuters has reported.

The declaration had been accepted on Monday by Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab and other senior figures in the caretaker government.

The move would increase Lebanon’s claims by approximately 550 square miles in a disputed area of the Mediterranean believed to contain substantial quantities of oil and natural gas.

Both Israel and Lebanon claim that this region is in their exclusive economic zones.

Diab said the declaration should be given assent by Aoun to allow a claim to be lodged with the UN, according to Reuters. Beirut’s focus on fossil fuel-rich waters comes amid the country’s ongoing economic collapse.

The nation’s currency has lost 90 percent of its value against the dollar on the black market and the UN says 55 percent of Lebanese people now live in poverty.

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