Lebanon-Cyprus Talk Maritime Borders in Nicosia
There is good will and good intentions on both sides to reach an agreement on maritime borders between Cyprus and Lebanon, said Lebanese Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour after his meeting with FM Erato Kozakou-Marcoulis in Nicosia.
During his visit there were also behind-the-scenes talks between technocrats on the issue of signing an agreement on delimiting the exclusive economic zones (EEZ) between the countries. Although Lebanon does not have an argument with Cyprus, it is still technically at war with Israel and disagrees with the EEZ agreeement between Cyprus and Israel, saying it encroaches on its own territory. So far, Lebanon's state authorities have not ratified a proposed maritime border agreement with Cyprus.
The controversy and jockeying for position are all part of the newly developing oil and gas exploration drive in the Eastern Mediterranean which promises to transform the economies of the countries involved. But with the opportunities also come risks, including the risk of a military incident between Israel and Turkey or Lebanon.
Analysts also talk about the possibility of the burgeoning hydrocarbon industry being a catalyst for more peaceful and cooperative relations between the countries which border the Eastern Mediterranean.
Whatever the future brings, the present is still fraught with threats, both perceived and real.
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