Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, right, meets with David Schenker, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, in Beirut, Lebanon, Monday, Sept. 9, 2019. Hariri received Schenker who will mediate between Lebanon and Israel over a maritime border dispute. (Hussein Malla/Associated Press)

BEIRUT — Lebanon’s prime minister and a U.S. diplomat are discussing a maritime border dispute with Israel, with both sides claiming areas with potentially lucrative offshore gas fields in the Mediterranean Sea.

Saad Hariri met David Schenker, the assistant secretary of state for near eastern affairs, on Monday during his first visit to Lebanon since taking the post earlier this year.

Israel and Lebanon do not have diplomatic relations, and Israel considers Lebanon an “enemy state.”

Lebanon hopes to unleash offshore oil and gas production as it grapples with an economic crisis.

The Zohr gas field — discovered off the coast of neighboring Egypt in 2015 — has been touted as the largest ever in the Mediterranean.

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