Long-time foes Lebanon and Israel held talks on Wednesday October 14, to address a long running dispute over their maritime border running through potentially gas-rich Mediterranean waters.
The talks were mediated by the United States, which has pushed for years for negotiations to resolve the dispute and brokered deals last month for two Gulf Arab states to establish full ties with Israel, in a major Middle East realignment.
The United States and United Nations, which hosted the meeting, described it as productive, while Israel’s Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz said the Israeli delegation would push ahead with the talks “to give the process a chance”
Hezbollah, which last fought a war with Israel in 2006, says the talks are not a sign of peace-making with its long-time enemy. Israel’s energy minister also said expectations should be realistic.
Still, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo described the decision to go ahead with the talks as historic, and said Washington looked forward to separate talks later over disagreements on the land border.
The United Nations peacekeeping force UNIFIL, has monitored the land boundary since Israel’s withdrawal from south Lebanon in 2000, ending a 22-year occupation.