Israel border wall 'act of aggression': Lebanon

Israel border wall 'act of aggression': Lebanon

Israel border wall 'act of aggression': Lebanon

The signing ceremony was held Friday in Beirut and was attended by President Michel Aoun and officials from the three oil companies, Italy's Eni, France's Total and Russia's Novatek.

Total-led worldwide consortium (Total 40%, ENI 40%, Novatek 20%) signed two Exploration and Production Agreements (EPA) with the Republic of Lebanon, covering Blocks 4 and 9, located in the deep waters offshore Lebanon.

The announcement comes after Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said last week that oil and gas exploration projects in Block 9 were "very provocative" and called on worldwide companies not to carry out work.

Looking to tap potential oil and gas reserves after major offshore discoveries by neighbouring Israel and Cyprus, the Mediterranean country in December approved a bid on blocks four and nine.

The consortium's priority will be to drill a first exploration well on Block 4 in 2019. Some of the block falls in an area that is disputed by Lebanon and Israel.

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Describing Lebanon's efforts in exploring gas in Block Nine as "provocative", Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman claimed in a latest statement that the gas field "is by all means ours".

Energy Minister Cesar Abi Khalil vowed there would be full exploration in offshore energy Block 9, which lies in waters disputed by the Zionist occupation entity.

Lebanon says the wall violates its sovereignty by passing through territory that belongs to the country but is located on the other side of a UN-designated Blue Line, which sets the limits for Israel's 2000 withdrawal from southern Lebanon.

Differences among Lebanese leadership have been resolved and the government is planning to take actions to counter any threats from Israel, said a statement released by the presidential office Tuesday.

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