martime border - Haaretz - July 10 2011
A schematic diagram of Northern Maritime Border. Photo by Haaretz
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Lebanon has warned the United Nations that Israel's proposed sea border threatens peace and security, media reports said Monday, in the latest development in the two countries' maritime claims.

Lebanese Foreign Minister Adnan Mansor, in a letter sent Monday to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, rejected Israeli claims of the northern part of the waters between the two countries.

"The Israeli claim infringes on Lebanon's Exclusive Economic (sea) Zone," a zone that gives a country the right to explore its maritime resources.

"This is a clear violation of Lebanon's rights... over an area of some 860 square kilometers, and puts international peace and security at risk," it said.

Israel and Lebanon have no diplomatic relations, so such proposals go to the United Nations.

In August, Lebanon's parliament ratified a law to define the borders of the country's territorial waters.

Norway-based Petroleum Geo-Services this year announced it had explored Lebanese waters which contained "valuable information" on potential offshore gas reserves.

Over the past two years, Israel has discovered two fields thought to contain about 24 trillion cubic meters of natural gas. The discoveries could be enough to make Israel energy self-sufficient for decades.

Last July, the leader of the Lebanese Shiite movement Hezbollah, Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah, warned Israel against trying "to steal Lebanon's maritime resources" and said his movement would retaliate against any Israeli attack on the country's oil and gas installations.