Palestinians say they are negotiating sea border with Egypt

Palestinians say they have started negotiations with Egypt to determine the boundaries of their undersea territory that could be exploited for resources as a first step to determining the sea borders of a ‘Palestinian state’.

The goal is to establish an exclusive economic zone off the coast of the Gaza Strip under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, said ambassador Ryad Mansour.

The talks with Egypt are at the preliminary stage, having begun recently with Egypt at the foreign minister level and then continued at the expert level, the ambassador said.

The Palestinian Authority has consulted “top lawyers in the field” to prepare its case and train its officials in the workings of maritime law, he added.

The Palestinian strategy is to reach agreements with two of its neighbors in the Mediterranean — first Egypt and then Cyprus — to define exclusive economic zones with respect to them, and then consult with lawyers as to what its potential borders with Israel could be.

The Palestinians became party to this and other UN treaties and agencies when they gained observer status at the United Nations in November 2012.