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governmentJune 11, 2022

Grillo urges Lebanon to resume border talks 'in effective, serious way'

French Ambassador to Lebanon Anne Grillo has urged Lebanon to resume the indirect border negotiations with Israel, ahead of an expected visit to Beirut by the U.S. mediator in the contentious talks.

In an interview with Ici Beyrouth, Grillo said that the negotiations must resume in 'a serious and constructive manner.'

U.S. envoy Amos Hochstein, who is expected to visit Beirut in the coming days, hoped for his part to resume the negotiations in order to avoid any escalation, after Israel had moved on Sunday a ship operated by London-listed Energean Plc into a disputed Karish gas field, sparking Lebanese condemnation.

'Lebanon's collapse will not be in our interest nor in the interest of the region,' Hochstein said. 'We are trying to find ways to urgently secure gas for Europe,' he added.

U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price had said that the U.S. believes that 'a deal is possible if both sides negotiate in good faith and realize the benefit to both countries.'

Lebanon and Israel last fought a war in 2006, have no diplomatic relations and are separated by a U.N.-patrolled border.

They had resumed negotiations over their maritime border in 2020 but the process was stalled by Beirut's claim that the map used by the United Nations in the talks needed modifying.

Lebanon initially demanded 860 square kilometers (330 square miles) of territory in the disputed maritime area but then asked for an additional 1,430 square kilometers, including part of Karish.