Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun, Prime Minister Najib Mikati and Foreign Minister Abdullah Bouhabib discussed in a meeting on Tuesday the means to confront Israel’s decision to explore oil in the disputed maritime area.
In a statement, the Lebanese Presidency said that the meeting reviewed recent developments, following Israel’s announcement that it granted a US oilfield services group an offshore drilling contract in the Mediterranean.
The Lebanese officials discussed the repercussions of the Israeli move and the measures that Lebanon will take following a letter sent to the United Nations in this regard.
Presidential sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that Lebanon was seeking to conduct the necessary studies to ascertain whether the exploration would be carried out in the disputed area, through a mediator such as the United Nations, and then work on the subsequent steps and procedures.
As the negotiations on the demarcation of the border between Lebanon and Israel stalled due to a dispute over maps, US Halliburton Company announced last week that it has been awarded an integrated services contract to execute a three to five well drilling and completions campaign for Greek Energean company.
“We will not back down on this issue or give up on Lebanese rights,” Mikati said in a statement following the announcement.
Lebanon’s representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Amal Mudallali, submitted a letter to the UN on this matter, in which the country called on the Security Council to ensure that the drilling evaluation work does not take place in a disputed area in order to avoid any attack on Lebanon’s rights and sovereignty.