Lebanon warns neighbors over using territory for gas pipeline

Lebanon’s foreign minister, Gebran Bassil, above, said he had written to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to request that the pipeline not infringe on Lebanon’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ). (Reuters)
Updated 08 March 2019
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Lebanon warns neighbors over using territory for gas pipeline

  • Israel is hoping to enlist several European countries in the construction of a 2,000-km pipeline linking vast eastern Mediterranean gas resources to Europe
  • Beirut has an unresolved maritime border dispute with Israel over a sea area of about 860 sq. km extending along the edge of three of Lebanon’s southern energy blocks

BEIRUT: Lebanon on Thursday warned its Mediterranean neighbors that a planned EastMed gas pipeline from Israel to the EU must not be allowed to violate its maritime borders.
Beirut has an unresolved maritime border dispute with Israel — which it regards as an enemy country — over a sea area of about 860 sq. km extending along the edge of three of Lebanon’s southern energy blocks. Israel is hoping to enlist several European countries in the construction of a 2,000-km pipeline linking vast eastern Mediterranean gas resources to Europe through Cyprus, Greece and Italy at a cost of $7 billion.
Lebanon’s foreign minister, Gebran Bassil, said he had written to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, EU foreign policy head Federica Mogherini and the foreign ministers of Cyprus, Greece and Italy to request that the pipeline not infringe on Lebanon’s rights within what it claims as its exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
In a copy of the letter sent to Greece’s Foreign Ministry seen by Reuters, Bassil said Lebanon would not allow its sovereignty to be breached, “especially when it comes to any eventual attempt from Israel to encroach on Lebanon’s sovereign rights and jurisdiction over its EEZ.”

 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday said US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will visit Israel in the next few days to help with its plan to export natural gas to Europe. “In a few days, the leaders of Cyprus and Greece will come here, together with ... Pompeo, to advance a gas pipeline from Israel to Europe via these countries,” Netanyahu said.
Pompeo on Monday said his visit to the region will also include stops in Beirut and Kuwait.
Lebanon last year licensed a consortium of Italy’s Eni, France’s Total and Russia’s Novatek to carry out the country’s first offshore energy exploration in two blocks. One of the blocks, Block 9, contains waters disputed with Israel.
Lebanese leaders have repeatedly warned Israel not to encroach on its offshore oil and gas reserves.
A number of big gas fields have been discovered in the eastern Mediterranean Levant Basin since 2009. But the region lacks significant oil and gas infrastructure, and political relations between the countries — including Cyprus, Greece, Egypt, Israel, Lebanon and Syria — are strained on a number of fronts. In January, eastern Mediterranean countries agreed to set up a forum to create a regional gas market, cut infrastructure costs and offer competitive prices. Lebanon, Turkey and Syria did not participate in the meeting.

FASTFACTS

$7bn - The cost of a 2,000-km pipeline that Israel hopes to construct by enlisting several European countries.


Instagram moves into e-commerce with shopping button

Updated 27 min 11 sec ago
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Instagram moves into e-commerce with shopping button

  • A new “checkout” button for instant purchasing launched in a beta version of the app in the US with a limited number of businesses
  • Facebook makes the bulk of its money from digital advertising but has dabbled with e-commerce in the past

SAN FRANCISCO: Facebook-owned Instagram on Tuesday made a move into potentially lucrative e-commerce by adding an option to buy products shown off in posts by selected brands.
A new “checkout” button for instant purchasing launched in a beta version of the app in the US with a limited number of businesses, according to the popular image-centric messaging service.
“We’re introducing Checkout on Instagram,” the Silicon Valley based division of Facebook said in an online post.
“When you find a product you love, you can now buy it without leaving the app.”
Tapping the checkout button will allow shoppers to select options such as size or color and then pay for items without leaving the Instagram app.
Previously, people inspired to buy products featured in Instagram posts had to follow links to outside online shopping sites.
Information entered for an initial purchase will be stored for future use, according to Instagram.
It remained to be seen how people would feel trusting information such as credit card details to a service owned by Facebook, which has been hit with waves of criticism for its handling of personal data.
Brands taking part in the checkout feature included Adidas, Burberry, Dior, H&M, Nike, Oscar de la Renta, Prada, and glasses retailer Warby Parker.
Facebook makes the bulk of its money from digital advertising but has dabbled with e-commerce in the past. It has pitched its Messenger service as a communication platform for shops or brands to connect with customers.