Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri said on Thursday that an agreement with Israel has been reached to enter into UN-mediated talks regarding their dispute over land and maritime borders. The United States will play a facilitating role during the negotiations to be held in the city of Naqoura, in southern Lebanon, Berri said at a press conference, without giving a date for the talks. If successful, the negotiations may settle a dispute over gas exploration in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, where huge reservoirs of valuable natural resources are believed to be located. The speaker said that the Lebanese delegation will be led by army officials and explained that both Israel and Lebanon asked the US to mediate their dispute.
Once an agreement is reached, it will be signed by Israel, Lebanon and the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), Berri added. Confirming earlier reports in Israeli media, he said UNIFIL will be hosting the talks at its base in the country’s south.
The announcement shortly after the US slapped sanctions against his top aide for corruption and financially assisting Lebanese terrorist organization Hezbollah, which is backed by Iran.