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Cyprus offers mediation between Lebanon, Israel to solve undersea oil, gas dispute

Cyprus is offering to mediate between Lebanon and Israel over a maritime border dispute that is delaying some oil and gas exploration.

Solon Kassinis, director of the Department of Energy in Cyprus, says his country is trying to help "as much as it can." Cyprus is a Mediterranean island nation close to both Israel and Lebanon.

Both Lebanon and Israel claim a small maritime area of 850 square kilometers. The dispute has held up ratification of the 2007 Lebanese-Cypriot agreement, defining Exclusive Economic Zones among the three countries. It has also led to bitter exchanges and threats between Israel and Lebanon.

Neither immediately commented on the mediation offer from Cyprus.

Lebanon and Israel remain technically in a state of war and have fought several battles in the past three decades.