JERUSALEM, Sept. 19 (Xinhua) -- Israel announced Monday it will start to produce natural gas from a disputed Mediterranean maritime field "as soon as possible," despite U.S.-brokered border demarcation talks between Israel and Lebanon.
"The production of gas from the Karish rig will commence without delay, as soon as it is possible," Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid's office said in a statement, adding the production "is not connected to the negotiations (with Lebanon)."
Israel claimed that the Karish field is located within its economic zone while Lebanon claims in disputed waters. According to a report on Israel's state-owned Kan TV news, the negotiations have entered their "final stages" in the past few days.
"Israel believes that it is both possible and necessary to reach an agreement on a maritime line between Lebanon and Israel, in a manner that will serve the interests of the citizens of both countries," the Prime Minister's Office said.
Such an agreement will be "greatly beneficial and strengthen regional stability," it added.