Israel and Lebanon reach ‘historic’ maritime border agreement

Israel and Lebanon on Tuesday (October 11) concluded an agreement on their maritime border, which meets all their demands and will soon be ratified, negotiators from the two countries said. The US has been mediating for two years between the two officially warring neighbors to reach the deal.

Both countries expressed their satisfaction with US mediator Amos Hochstein’s draft agreement in early October. But on Thursday, Israel rejected a series of amendments by Lebanon to the draft agreement, dampening optimism. Behind-the-scenes talks have continued in recent days, with Israel saying on Tuesday it had received a positive response to its concerns over the Lebanese amendment demands.

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“This historic deal will strengthen Israel’s security, pay billions [d’euros] in the Israeli economy and ensuring the stability of our northern border [avec le Liban] »Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid announced that a meeting of his defense cabinet is scheduled for Wednesday. “Agreement reached” Following US mediation.

“All our demands are accepted”Prime Minister’s National Security Adviser Eyal Hulada said earlier.

In Beirut, the Lebanese Presidency announced the final form of the resolution “Satisfactory” to Lebanon. “It responds to Lebanon’s demands and protects its right to its natural resources”He added that he hoped there would be an agreement “To be announced as soon as possible”.

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Netanyahu opposed the plan

The announcement comes twenty days before the end of Lebanese President Michel Aoun’s mandate, which expires on October 31. In Israel, Legislature To be held on 1stThere is November, the fifth in three and a half years, could see Binyamin Netanyahu return to power with allies from ultra-Orthodox parties and the far right.

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Last week, the former prime minister had criticized the plan, saying Mr “The Donor” A in Lebanon “Sovereign Territory of Israel”of “Surrender” Against Lebanese Hezbollah and threatening to not honor the deal if it returns to business.

“Hezbollah, which is part of the Lebanese parliament, is aware of Lebanon’s dire economic situation and is interested in exploiting Lebanese gas”Israeli Public Security Minister Omar Bar-Lev made the comments on Tuesday.

On Tuesday, Israeli officials said the deal would be submitted to parliament, without giving a specific date.

According to press reports and officials, the text provides that the Karish offshore deposit should remain under Israeli control and that the Ghanaian reserves located further north-east should be given to Lebanon. But these sources suggest that the Jewish state will receive a share of future revenues from Ghana’s gas exploitation, as a portion of these deposits overlie future demarcation.

Increase gas supply

As the European Union seeks to diversify its gas supply due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Israel is betting on the Karish field, ready to go into production, to boost gas supplies to the old continent.

However, on Sunday, Energian, the company mandated to exploit the deposit, announced the start of tests to connect its offshore gas platform to Israeli territory, a key step towards the start of production.

In July, Israeli Prime Minister Yaïr Lapid discussed the issue with French President Emmanuel Macron, hoping to see Paris use its influence to facilitate a deal with Beirut, particularly as French company Total is expected to explore the deposit. of Ghana.

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But unlike Karish, this field is still far from being implemented and should be subject to high expectations to determine recoverable gas resources.

Elias Bou Saab, one of the main Lebanese negotiators on the file, made the pledge on Tuesday. “A deal between the whole and the Israelis” Under it they can “to be compensated” Energy is giant and not Lebanese.

Meanwhile, the Middle East and North Africa director of TotalEnergies’ exploration-production branch, Laurent Vivier, arrived in Lebanon on Tuesday, the official Lebanese news agency ANI reported.

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The world with AFP

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