Lebanon takes natural resources dispute to U.N.

Lebanon has asked the United Nations to make sure that Israel does not encroach on energy resources in its territorial waters.

In a letter sent Tuesday to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Lebanon Foreign Minister Ali al-Shami called on the international body to ensure that “Israel does not exploit Lebanon’s marine and oil wealth, which lies within its exclusive economic zone,” Lebanon’s state-run National News Agency reported.

The letter follows an announcement last week by the Houston, Texas-based Noble Energy that a natural gas field dubbed Leviathan discovered in Israel’s territorial waters contains an estimated 16 trillion cubic feet of the natural resource.

Lebanon has said that some of the deposits extend into its territorial waters, which Israel disputes.

The Lebanese government in August approved a law to allow offshore oil and gas exploration for the first time.

Lebanon and Israel do not have an agreed-upon maritime border and remain in a state of war.