Israel does not want escalation over border wall, US to Lebanon Feb 09, 2018 0 109 12345 ReutersBEIRUT/JERUSALEMA US envoy has assured Lebanon that Israel does not seek an escalation between the countries following a surge in hostile rhetoric, Lebanese and Israeli officials said on Thursday.The neighbours have exchanged threats and condemnation over a border wall being built by Israel, a tender issued by Beirut for oil and gas exploration in disputed waters and arms flows to Lebanon's Iran-backed Hezbollah group.Lebanese and Israeli officials said David Satterfield, acting assistant US secretary of state, was in Israel last week and in Lebanon this week on a mediation mission. US officials confirmed his travels without detailing his agenda."He (Satterfield) held talks regarding the (border) wall with Israel and said there is no call for concern, and there is no direction towards escalation,"a senior Lebanese government official said on condition of anonymity."He assured the Lebanese that Israel does not want escalation."An Israeli official, who also declined to be named, said Satterfield was"relaying messages"to Beirut about several matters of contention."Our position has always been that we do not want to see the situation inflamed,"the official said, adding that at least two European countries were mediating, as well as the United States.Lebanon has described Israel's border wall as an"aggression", saying it intrudes into Lebanese territory. Israel says the wall will be entirely on its side of the U.N.-recognised border.The wall is being built near the U.N.-designated Blue Line between the two countries, which demarcated Israel's withdrawal from southern Lebanon in 2000. Lebanon has reservations about the location of the line in 13 areas.Reuters footage from the border shows concrete panels around at least 7m high being placed in a line to form a wall on the Israeli side of the border.The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon said the construction work was on the Israeli side."Our troops are on the ground and the situation is calm,"UNIFIL spokesman Andrea Tenenti said.On Thursday, Lebanese President Michel Aoun said talks were under way with friendly states"to prevent Israeli greed"and pledged to"confront any attack"on Lebanon's territory or waters, his office said.Israel has also condemned Lebanon's oil and gas exploration tender as"very provocative", saying that one field, known as Block 9, juts into its waters. Lebanon says the block is entirely inside Lebanese waters.Lebanon has an unresolved maritime border dispute with Israel over a triangular area of sea of around 860 sq km (330 square miles) that extends along the edge of three of five offshore energy blocks Lebanon put to tender early last year.On Friday, Lebanon expects to sign its first exploration and production contracts for two of the offshore blocks with a consortium of France's Total, Italy's Eni and Russia's Novatek.Israel last went to war in Lebanon in 2006, against the heavily armed, Iran-backed Shi'ite Muslim Hezbollah movement. Israel says Hezbollah has increased in strength since helping sway the Syrian civil war in President Bashar al-Assad's favour.Israeli and US officials have said they believe Iran is setting up factories in Lebanon to make precision-guided missiles that may allow Hezbollah to threaten Israel's critical infrastructure in any future war. Israeli officials have hinted they could order preemptive strikes on such facilities.Hezbollah and Iran have not responded to the missile allegations.Satterfield is a former U.S. ambassador to Beirut and former head of the international peacekeeping force in Egypt's Sinai desert, a role that put him in touch with Israeli officials.Asked about Satterfield's Lebanon visit, the spokeswoman for the U.S. Embassy in Beirut said only that he came"to meet with government officials to discuss the U.S.-Lebanon bilateral relationship".Another U.S. official told Reuters that Satterfield met Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri on Tuesday.His Beirut trip followed a visit to Tel Aviv last week to address a security conference. Israeli officials and the U.S. Embassy in Israel declined to provide details on his talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government.(Additiona reporting by Laila Bassam and Angus McDowall; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg and Alison Williams) Pages 12 Subscribe to our Whatsapp Service Qatar +974 Kuwait +965 Oman +968 Bahrain +973 Saudi Arabia +966 United Arab Emirates +971 Afghanistan +93 Albania +355 Algeria +213 AmericanSamoa +1 684 Andorra +376 Angola +244 Anguilla +1 264 Antigua and Barbuda +1268 Argentina +54 Armenia +374 Aruba +297 Australia +61 Austria +43 Azerbaijan +994 Bahamas +1 242 Bahrain +973 Bangladesh +880 Barbados +1 246 Belarus +375 Belgium +32 Belize +501 Benin +229 Bermuda +1 441 Bhutan +975 Bosnia and Herzegovina +387 Botswana +267 Brazil +55 British Indian Ocean Territory +246 Bulgaria +359 Burkina Faso +226 Burundi +257 Cambodia +855 Cameroon +237 Canada +1 Cape Verde +238 Cayman Islands + 345 Central African Republic +236 Chad +235 Chile +56 China +86 Christmas Island +61 Colombia +57 Comoros +269 Congo +242 Cook Islands +682 Costa Rica +506 Croatia +385 Cuba +53 Cyprus +537 Czech Republic +420 Denmark +45 Djibouti +253 Dominica +1 767 Dominican Republic +1 849 Ecuador +593 Egypt +20 El Salvador +503 Equatorial Guinea +240 Eritrea +291 Estonia +372 Ethiopia +251 Faroe Islands +298 Fiji +679 Finland +358 France +33 French Guiana +594 French Polynesia +689 Gabon +241 Gambia +220 Georgia +995 Germany +49 Ghana +233 Gibraltar +350 Greece +30 Greenland +299 Grenada +1 473 Guadeloupe +590 Guam +1 671 Guatemala +502 Guinea +224 Guinea-Bissau +245 Guyana +595 Haiti +509 Honduras +504 Hungary +36 Iceland +354 India +91 Indonesia +62 Iraq +964 Ireland +353 Israel +972 Italy +39 Jamaica +1 876 Japan +81 Jordan +962 Kazakhstan +7 7 Kenya +254 Kiribati +686 Kyrgyzstan +996 Latvia +371 Lebanon +961 Lesotho +266 Liberia +231 Liechtenstein +423 Lithuania +370 Luxembourg +352 Madagascar +261 Malawi +265 Malaysia +60 Maldives +960 Mali +223 Malta +356 Marshall Islands +692 Martinique +596 Mauritania +222 Mauritius +230 Mayotte +262 Mexico +52 Monaco +377 Mongolia +976 Montenegro +382 Montserrat +1664 Morocco +212 Myanmar +95 Namibia +264 Nauru +674 Nepal +977 Netherlands +31 Netherlands Antilles +599 New Caledonia +687 New Zealand +64 Nicaragua +505 Niger +227 Nigeria +234 Niue +683 Norfolk Island +672 Northern Mariana Islands +1 670 Norway +47 Pakistan +92 Palau +680 Panama +507 Papua New Guinea +675 Paraguay +595 Peru +51 Philippines +63 Poland +48 Portugal +351 Puerto Rico +1 939 Romania +40 Rwanda +250 Samoa +685 San Marino +378 Senegal +221 Serbia +381 Seychelles +248 Sierra Leone +232 Singapore +65 Slovakia +421 Slovenia +386 Solomon Islands +677 South Africa +27 South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands +500 Spain +34 Sri Lanka +94 Sudan +249 Suriname +597 Swaziland +268 Sweden +46 Switzerland +41 Tajikistan +992 Thailand +66 Togo +228 Tokelau +690 Tonga +676 Trinidad and Tobago +1 868 Tunisia +216 Turkey +90 Turkmenistan +993 Turks and Caicos Islands +1 649 Tuvalu +688 Uganda +256 Ukraine +380 United Kingdom +44 United States +1 Uruguay +598 Uzbekistan +998 Vanuatu +678 Wallis and Futuna +681 Yemen +967 Zambia +260 Zimbabwe +263 "Bolivia Brunei Darussalam +673 Cocos (Keeling) Islands +61 "Congo Cote dIvoire +225 Falkland Islands (Malvinas) +500 Guernsey +44 Holy See (Vatican City State) +379 Hong Kong +852 "Iran Isle of Man +44 Jersey +44 Korea Korea Lao Peoples Democratic Republic +856 Libyan Arab Jamahiriya +218 Macao +853 "Macedonia "Micronesia "Moldova Mozambique +258 Palestine +970 Pitcairn +872 RÃ©union +262 Russia +7 Saint BarthÃ©lemy +590 "Saint Helena Saint Kitts and Nevis +1 869 Saint Lucia +1 758 Saint Martin +590 Saint Pierre and Miquelon +508 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines +1 784 Sao Tome and Principe +239 Somalia +252 Svalbard and Jan Mayen +47 Syrian Arab Republic +963 "Taiwan "Tanzania Timor-Leste +670 "Venezuela Viet Nam +84 "Virgin Islands "Virgin Islands Facebook Twitter POST A COMMENT RELATED ARTICLES Palestinians jam Gaza border temporarily opened by Egypt Feb 09, 2018 0 164 In Oman desert, European venture sets sights on Mars Feb 09, 2018 0 99 Suicide attack kills one in Iraq's Ramadi city Feb 09, 2018 0 74 Russia to boost Sudan military, says President Bashir Khartoum: President Omar al-Bashir on Thursday said that Khartoum and Moscow have agreed on a programme to boost Sudan's military capabilities. 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