Haifa, Israel – On Thursday, Israel and Lebanon finalized a maritime border agreement in what both Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid and Lebanese President Michel Aoun called a historic achievement.
The agreement settles the maritime boundary between two states that have no diplomatic ties and have been officially at war for decades.
The deal, which could unlock additional natural gas production in the Mediterranean at a time of disruption in global energy flows, was finalized on Oct. 11, according to Israeli and Lebanese officials. .
In a statement, Mr. Rapid said the deal was a “historic achievement that strengthens Israeli security, brings billions of dollars to Israel’s economy and ensures stability on the northern border.”
Written by Aoun twitter On October 13, he said, “This is a historic achievement as we have recovered 860 square kilometers of the area affected by the conflict.”
On Thursday morning local time, Aoun approved the deal in a letter signed in Ba’ada, Lebanon, followed by another copy signed by Rapid in Jerusalem. peacekeeping It is based in Nakoura, Lebanon, on the border.
Gas production started the day before
Energean, a London-based energy company, announced on October 26th that it has started gas production at the Karish gas rig, an offshore oil field near the Israeli-Lebanese border.
The agreement places Kalish within Israeli borders and provides Lebanon with full rights to develop the nearby Cana or Sidon reservoirs.
“We were the first to achieve #gas and #CalishThe gas flows through our own FPSO, #energy market competition, # Sustainable development & #energy security Region and Beyond,” wrote Energean twitter October 26th.
“Both countries are producing gas at the same time.”
Elias Bou Saab, deputy speaker of the Lebanese parliament and Lebanon’s top negotiator, told CNN on Oct. 11:
US special envoy Amos Hochstein, who brokered the talks, told reporters he hoped the deal would hold up despite changes in leadership in the two countries. He referred to both Israel’s scheduled elections on November 1 and Aoun’s term ending on October 31, saying, “It has to do with who will soon be elected as the next president of Lebanon. The agreement should be maintained, rather than”.
Hours before the expected signing, Rapid wrote: twitter: “This is a political achievement. It is not every day that an adversary recognizes the state of Israel in a written agreement before the entire international community.”
Israeli opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu said earlier this month that Rapid had shamefully surrendered to threats from Hezbollah terrorist leader Hassan Nasrallah, saying the deal would not bind him if he is elected prime minister. said.
Roy Kais, Arab affairs correspondent for Kan 11, the Israeli state television station, wrote: twitter What Nasrallah said on Thursday: “The mission is over. What happened from start to finish regarding the marking of the maritime border and the result is a very big victory for Lebanon.”
Aoun said the deal was purely “technical” and “has no political dimension or implications that would conflict with Lebanon’s foreign policy.”
Lebanon does not recognize Israel’s right to exist and believes it is still at war with its neighbor due to laws that prohibit contact with Israeli officials.
Tom Ozimek and Reuters contributed to this report.