By Furkan Guldemir
BEIRUT (AA) - Lebanese leaders on Tuesday rejected Israeli claims on oil-and-gas fields and pointed out violations of the resolution of United Nations Security Council, according to an official statement.
President Michel Aoun met Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri and Premier Saad Hariri for discussing recent political developments, disputes and threats from Israel, a written statement released by the presidential palace said.
The statement slammed Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s claim about the oil-and-gas fields in the exclusive economic zone known as Block 9, highlighting that Lebanon would continue to discover, explore and drill in the area.
The country’s leaders said Israeli threats were blatant violation of UNSC’s resolution 1701.
They vowed to take legal actions at regional and international levels to prevent the Israeli violations. In this context, the Council of Higher Defense would discuss measures to block the Israeli aggression, the statement said.
Lieberman had described Lebanon’s oil-and-gas exploration process as “very provocative” last week, claiming the area where the exploration in Block 9 was Israeli territory and called on international companies to boycott the process.
Lebanon has started the licensing process for foreign companies to explore natural gas in the area and has also approved two Cabinet decisions to this effect.
A consortium consisting of French Total, Italian ENI, and Russian Novatek received the permission in December 2017 to explore and drill oil in Block 4 and Block 9, which are among 10 zones in Lebanese territorial waters.
Authorities estimate the country’s territorial waters have reserves of 96 trillion cubic meters of natural gas and 865 million barrels of oil, annually.
Lebanon has disputes with Israel over 860 square kilometers of territorial water. Both claim they have the right on the disputed continental shelf. Israel claims three blocks among five where Lebanon has initiated licensing processes.