Najib Mikati, Lebanon’s prime minister, warned Israel on Sunday against encroaching on the country’s oil wealth.
“The Israeli enemy’s attempts to foment a fresh crisis by infringing on Lebanon’s water wealth […] is a matter of extreme gravity and would exacerbate tensions,” Mikati said in a statement released by the country’s official news agency.
Mikati also warned against Israeli plans to impose “a fait accompli” in a disputed region where Lebanon maintains its sovereignty.
The Lebanese prime minister urged the UN and other interested parties to “compel Israel to cease its provocations.”
Following the passage of a ship dubbed Energean Power into the disputed territory between Lebanon and Israel, Mikati met with Lebanese President Michel Aoun for negotiations early Sunday.
The move was criticised by Aoun as “provocative and aggressive.”
According to maps submitted to the United Nations in 2011, Lebanon and Israel are fighting over an 860 square kilometre maritime territory.
Natural gas and oil are abundant in the area.
Under UN sponsorship and US intervention, Lebanon and Israel held five sessions of indirect negotiations. The most recent round of talks took place in May 2021, however it was stalled due to serious disputes.