Lebanese President Michel Aoun has urged French multinational TotalEnergies to begin drilling in the Mediterranean Sea as soon as possible.

Aoun met with a group from the company and requested that drilling begin immediately to compensate for the time spent in indirect negotiations with Israel to demarcate the countries’ maritime borders, the Lebanese Presidency said.

Meanwhile, the Lebanese military said on Tuesday that an Israel Navy vessel breached Lebanese territorial waters on Monday morning, an allegation Israel denied, in the second such dispute this week.

Also on Monday, a Hezbollah-aligned Lebanese politician said that the war in Ukraine and the resulting increase in demand for natural gas had provided additional impetus for negotiators to finalize the US-mediated accord.

Gebran Bassil, the son-in-law of President Aoun and the leader of his Free Patriotic Movement political party, has been under U.S. sanctions since November 2022 over “systemic corruption” and ties with the terrorist group. He told AP, “We had the guarantees, clearly, from the U.S. and also from France and Total that once this is done [a border accord is reached]…Total as block operator will restart its petroleum activities offshore Lebanon.”



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