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Lebanese FM Against Israel-Cyprus Maritime Borders

As Noble Energy prepares to start drilling in Cyprus' Exclusive Economic Zone in September to find undersea gas and oil reserves, Lebanon's new foreign minister Adnan Mansour has complained to the UN that an agreement between Cyprus and Israel on the sea border between the two countries is a violation of Lebanon's sovereignity.

Lebanese paper The Daily Star reports that Mansour said that last year's agreement between Cyprus and Israel is "a violation of Lebanon's sovereignity and economic rights and threatens peace and security in the region."

Lebanon's parliament has not yet approved an agreement between Cyprus and Lebanon to confirm sea borders between the countries. Mansour asked UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon to help define Lebanon's maritime borders and prevent any conflict arising from Israel's offshore hydrocarbons exploration.

Lebanon's complaint will be investigated by the Cyprus government, said a foreign ministry spokesman.

Lebanon and Israel are still technically at war; as are Cyprus and Turkey - which has threatened to take action if the Republic of Cyprus goes ahead with undersea hydrocarbons exploitation without including the Turkish-Cypriot community. As it stands, Turkey said that the agreement between Israel and Cyprus is null and void. But foreign minister Marcos Kyprianou's response to Turkey is that it is Cyprus' sovereign right to explore its own natural resources.

Noble Energy has an exploratory license for Block 12, which lies in Cyprus' exclusive economic zone and could contain 10 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. During a recent visit to Cyprus, a Noble Energy official said that natural gas could be delivered from Block 12 by 2014.


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