Berri Says Lebanon Should Swiftly Benefit from Energy Reserves
Speaker Nabih Berri stressed on Tuesday that Lebanon has the right to preserve its natural resources, urging officials to speed up deals with foreign companies to drill for oil and gas in the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone.
Berri reiterated to As Safir newspaper that neighboring countries will soon start oil and gas exploration.
“I’ve discussed this issue with President Michel Suleiman before he headed to New York, and agreed that he will discuss the issue at the United Nations especially with Secretary General Ban Ki-moon,” he said.
The speaker noted that issuing a decree concerning the issue should coincide with launching negotiations with Cyprus to define the maritime border.
Berri considered that the developments around the world should motivate Lebanon to demand its rights, away from personal interests and lame disputes.
“Everyone should have a national responsibility,” he told the daily.
Lebanon and Israel locked horns over the maritime border after the discovery of potential offshore energy reserves.
The Israeli cabinet in July approved a map and submitted it to the United Nations, which has been asked to mediate the growing conflict.
The Israeli map conflicts with Lebanon's proposed borders, which give the Jewish state less territorial waters and was submitted to the U.N. last year.
Beirut argues its map is in line with an armistice accord drawn up in 1949, an agreement which is not contested by Israel.