Israel's Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz poses for a photograph during an interview with Reuters, in Jerusalem November 16, 2016. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun/File Photo
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New ideas proposed in U.S. back-channel mediation of an Israeli-Lebanese maritime dispute over oil and gas exploration in the eastern Mediterranean raise the prospect of a partial deal this year, Israel's energy minister said.One of the Lebanese blocks being explored, Block 9, borders Israel's maritime zone and contains waters claimed by both countries.Israel recently warned energy companies in Lebanon not to drill close to its border, and the consortium set to explore Block 9 -- made up of France's Total, Italy's Eni and Russia's Novatek -- has said it would stay away from the disputed area.Steinitz also said he expected Israel to begin a new round of tenders for offshore blocks sometime between September and November.
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