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Israel, Lebanon Launch Maritime Border Talks

A U.N. peacekeeper of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) stands on United Nation's post in Houla village near the Lebanese-Israeli border, in southern Lebanon, Aug. 26, 2020.

Israel and Lebanon have launched indirect talks about their disputed sea border.

The United States and United Nations are acting as mediators in the negotiations that began Wednesday at the headquarters of the U.N. peacekeeping mission in the Lebanese town of Naqura.

At issue is an 860-square kilometer area of the Mediterranean Sea that both Israel and Lebanon claim is within their own exclusive economic zone.

The two sides do not have any diplomatic relations, and officials have stressed the negotiations are technical in nature and not meant to explore any normalization of ties.

Lebanon is mired in an economic crisis and wants to develop the area for oil and gas operations that could bring in needed revenue.