Lebanon warns Israel
President Michel Aoun says any effort by Israelis to tap natural gas deposits in disputed waters would be an “aggressive action”
A dispute over Mediterranean waters rich natural gas deposits erupted on Sunday after Michel Aoun, President of Lebanon warned Israel not to try and tap these offshore resources without first resolving territorial disputes. “provocation.”
“Any action or activity in the disputed area represents a provocation and an aggressive action,”Aoun made these comments in a statement on Sunday. His comments were made after an FPSO floating production storage and shipping (FPSO) vessel entered the dispute area. Energean, the London-based Upstream Firm, intends to commence pumping gas from Karish under contract with Israel’s government in late this year.
Aoun said he discussed the FPSO’s arrival with Prime Minister Najib Mikati and asked Lebanon’s Army Command to provide him “accurate and official data to build upon the matter.”Mikati was the one to call. “extremely dangerous,”Israel tried to “create a new crisis, encroaching on Lebanon’s maritime wealth and imposing a fait accompli in a disputed area.”
Karish, located 90 km west of Haifa and close to larger fields like Leviathan or Tamar, has reserves of more than 300,000,000 barrels. Energean signed a contract in March to sell output from Karish to Israel Electric Co., the largest Israeli gas buyer.
Jerusalem has claimed that Karish is located in Israel’s exclusive economic zone, as recognized by the United Nations, and isn’t subject to the country’s territorial dispute with Lebanon. Aoun stated that negotiations are ongoing to solve the problem. Both countries filed claims with the UN about their maritime overlaps.
Lebanon’s Hezbollah militant group has threatened to take action if Israel extracts fossil fuels in the disputed area without resolving the territorial impasse.
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