French President Francois Hollande delivers a speech during the annual Conference of Ambassadors in Paris August 28.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Speaker of Lebanon's Parliament Nabih Berri asked French President Francois Hollande to help Lebanon resolve its maritime border dispute with Israel, the daily Lebanese newspaper al-Mustaqbal reported Saturday.
According to the report, during his meeting with Hollande Saturday, Berri "required France to play a role in order to help Lebanon demarcate its maritime borders with Israel and protect its offshore oil treasures."
The maritime border dispute between Israel and Lebanon revolves around Lebanon's rejection of the maritime agreement signed between Israel and Cyprus in 2011. According to Berri, this agreement enabled Israel to "seize Lebanon's Exclusive Economic Zone."
In this light, Israel opposes Lebanon's recurrent attempts to grant many international oil companies licenses to explore for oil and gas in the disputed region, which enrages Lebanon, who views investment in this area as vital to its economy.
"If the situation remains as it is, it might ignite a new war against Israel that would unite all Lebanese citizens who would reclaim the honor of their nation, as happened in 2006," Berri stated, urging the international community to help resolve the dispute.
France's president arrived in Lebanon on Saturday for a two-day visit, during which he is scheduled to meet senior Lebanese officials and visit a group of Syrian refugees. Upon his arrival in Beirut, Hollande stated that France would provide immediate additional military aid to Lebanon and urged politicians to end a long-running crisis by electing a president as soon as possible.