BEIRUT / TEL AVIV — Lebanon and Israel have reached a historic deal to end a long-running maritime border dispute in the gas-rich eastern Mediterranean Sea, according to negotiators from the two countries.
Lebanon and Israel reached the end of long-awaited negotiations after several rounds in which the two sides agreed to the latest formula that was proposed by American mediator, Senior Advisor for Energy Security Amos Hochstein.
President of Lebanon Michel Aoun announced, “The terms of the final US proposal were satisfactory to Lebanon, meets its demands, and preserves its rights to its natural wealth.”
Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid called it , ”a historic agreement regarding the demarcation of the maritime borders.”
A signing date for the deal has not yet been announced.
While limited in scope, an agreement may ease security and economic concerns between the two countries.
Yair added that the Cabinet is preparing to ratify the agreement.
Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz described the agreement with Lebanon as, “fair to both sides,” stressing that Israel wants Lebanon to be “stable and prosperous” despite threats from Hezbollah, who tried to sabotage the agreement.
US President Joe Biden welcomed the agreement, which he described in a statement as a ”historic breakthrough”, explaining the two countries’ readiness to proceed with the agreement. He also thanked French President Emmanuel Macron for his country’s role in the negotiations.
The UAE welcomed the results of the negotiations between the two parties, expressing its hope that it would be a step in strengthening the stability of the region.
Israel’s Likud party led by former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attacked the agreement, with the partystating via Twitter that, “Lapid is selling us to Hezbollah.”
Israeli Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked announced that she would oppose the maritime border demarcation agreement with Lebanon if it was not submitted to the Knesset for approval, according to Israeli Army Radio.
In Lebanon, head of the Progressive Socialist Party Walid Jumblatt, commenting on the agreement, said that its approval does not mean normalizing relations with Israel.