Palestine-Egypt to Set Mediterranean Sea Border

Palestinian ambassador to the United Nations said on Friday that the Palestinian and Egyptian foreign ministries have reportedly initiated negotiations to determine the undersea border between their territories.

The Associated Press quoted Riyad Mansour as saying the negotiations were part of greater efforts toward “building the structures of a serious, respectable (Palestinian) state in all fields.”

He said that following recent preliminary meetings between Palestinian and Egyptian foreign ministers, talks between technical teams were being arranged toward determining boundaries along the Mediterranean.

Riyad said that the move would be the first step in determining boundaries of a Palestinian state, and would also be significant in enabling Palestinian access to valuable subsea resources in the Mediterranean, such as oil, gas, and minerals, which he called “the wealth of the Palestinian people.”

Through Palestine’s status as a non-member observer state in the United Nations, Palestinians have become “heavily involved” in the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, Mansour said.

State parties of the law-of-the-sea convention were meeting in New York while Mansour made his comments, and the state of Palestine had just been elected as a member of the convention’s credentials committee.Israel is not a party to the Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Israel has systematically prevented Palestinians from accessing and developing their resources off the coast of the Gaza Strip, particularly natural gas resources, according to Palestinian human rights organization Al-Haq.

A US geological survey determined that the Mediterranean’s “Levant Basin Province” – which encompasses waters off the coasts of Egypt, the occupied Palestinian territory, Israel, Lebanon, and Syria – indicated that there could be eight gas fields off the coast of Gaza, one gas field along the border of the West Bank, and potentially two or more oil fields bordering the northern and southern boundaries of the Gaza Strip, as well as a cluster of gas and oil deposits around the Dead Sea.

(MA’AN, PC)

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