Sarraf said the issue was brought up last month during the Rome II conference. AFP / THOMAS KIENZLE
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Lebanon is looking to boost its naval forces and exert more control over its maritime border, Defense Minister Yaacoub Sarraf said Friday, in light of Israeli threats to Lebanon's oil and gas exploration near a disputed maritime boundary. This issue, Sarraf told The Daily Star in an interview, was brought up last month during the Rome II conference that was held in the Italian capital in support of the Lebanese Army, International Security Forces and other security agencies.Solidifying control over Lebanon's maritime territory can be implemented on the ground through different components that were discussed in the Army's five-year-plan that Sarraf presented in Rome.The issue of smuggling, illegal trade and contraband, which is of interest to many within the international community, also helped Lebanon make the case for strengthening its maritime borders, Sarraf said.One of the other issues that was brought up during Rome II was the international community's keenness to build an Army model regiment that will assist the peacekeeping mission, UNIFIL, in southern Lebanon.
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