Lebanon's Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah gives a televised address in Beirut's southern suburbs, Lebanon October 22, 2021

Hezbollah Warns Israel Against Drilling For Gas In Disputed Maritime Area

10/23/2021

The leader of Lebanon's Hezbollah on Friday warned Israel against drilling for oil and gas in the disputed maritime border area until the issue is resolved.

Hezbollah would take action if Israel did so, Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of the Iran-backed group warned.

"If the enemy thinks they can act as they please before reaching a solution to this issue they are wrong," Nasrallah said in a televised speech.

Lebanon's cabinet had raised the question to the United Nations permanent representative after Israel granted US oilfield services group Halliburton an offshore drilling contract in the Mediterranean, asking to clarify whether the drilling would take place in disputed areas.

Lebanon and Israel are in dispute over the delineation of their territorial waters and negotiations could lead to Lebanon being able to unlock valuable gas reserves amid its worst-ever financial crisis. Israel already pumps gas from huge offshore fields.

The two countries have been holding on-off US mediated talks since October 2020 to try to resolve the issue.

"I will not state any positions on this as I don't want to complicate the negotiations but for sure the resistance in Lebanon…when it finds that Lebanese oil and gas is in danger…it will act accordingly," Nasrallah said.

The US mediator for the indirect talks, Amos Hochstein, visited Beirut this week and said a period of shuttle diplomacy would proceed any return to indirect talks between the two countries.

Reporting by Reuters

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