U.S. continues attempts to mediate between Israel, Lebanon

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By Middle East Affairs

A senior U.S. diplomat met with Lebanon’s foreign minister Wednesday to try once again to resolve a dispute the country has with Israel over water territory, Reuters reports.

Both Lebanon and Israel are friends to the United States, but the countries feud with each other.

Lebanon is starting to explore for oil and gas after it signed an “ooffshore energy exploration and production agreements with a consortium of France’s Total, Italy’s Eni and Russia’s Novatek,” Reuters says. “One of two blocks given to the consortium, Block 9, contains waters claimed by Israel.”

Acting U.S. Assistant Secretary of State of Near Eastern Affairs David Satterfield, has been traveling between the two countries trying to settle the disputes.

Although no U.S. proposals have been made public, both countries have called current ideas “unacceptable.”

A 2012 idea was to give Lebanon about two-thirds of the water and Israel about one-third.

Lebanon and Israel are also experiencing tension as Israel plans to build a border wall and Lebanon gains more members in its Iran-backed Shi’ite group Hezbollah.

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