BEIRUT, Lebanon

US envoy Amos Hochstein said Thursday that talks on the maritime border demarcation between Lebanon and Israel are in the final stages.

Hochstein made his comments in a seminar organized by the May Chidiac Foundation in Beirut on energy problems in Lebanon along with Lebanese Energy Minister Walid Fayad and online participation of Jordanian Energy Minister Saleh al-Kharabsheh.

Hochstein said there is a chance for border demarcation talks as his efforts managed to bridge gaps to where they could reach an agreement.

He also said Lebanon must decide whether it wants a deal with Israel where an agreement could allow oil exploration activities and bring foreign investment to Lebanon.

Fayad stressed that importance to move forward with indirect talks based on international law.

Hochstein arrived Tuesday in Beirut to speak with Lebanese officials about the border demarcation talks.

Lebanon and Israel are in dispute about a maritime area that is 860 square kilometers (332 square miles), according to maps sent by both counties to the UN in 2011.

The area is rich in natural gas and oil where five sessions were held between Lebanon and Israel under the UN sponsorship and US mediation. The last round of talks was in last May but it was stuck because of major differences between.

* Writing by Ahmed Asmar

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