BEIRUT, Aug. 1 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. mediator of the maritime border talks between Lebanon and Israel said he is optimistic about reaching an immediate solution to the issue, according to a Lebanese presidential statement.
"I remain optimistic that we can make continuous progress as we have over last several weeks and I look forward to being able to come back to the region to make the final arrangement in a few weeks," the U.S. energy envoy Amos Hochstein was quoted by the statement as saying.
His remarks came after a meeting with Lebanese President Michel Aoun, Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri and Prime Minister Najib Mikati.
Deputy Parliament Speaker Elias Bou Saab said gaps and differences have narrowed in the negotiations and results could come out in a few weeks.
Lebanon is trying to reach a solution to border demarcation with Israel as their maritime border dispute has escalated since Israel sent on June 5 a vessel operated by London-based Energean to the Karish gas field, which Israel claims is within its economic zone but Lebanon says in disputed waters.
Lebanon aims to start oil and gas exploration to pull itself out of an unprecedented financial crisis that has plunged over 70 percent of the population into poverty. ■