Lebanon on Thursday (October 13), approved a US-mediated maritime border deal with Israel. Lebanese President Michel Aoun announced the approval. This agreement unlocks significant offshore gas production for both countries. Israel President Yair Lapid had said on Wednesday that the agreement would decrease the likelihood of a conflict with Iran-backed militant group Hezbollah.
“I announce the approval by Lebanon of the final version prepared by the American mediator to delineate the southern maritime border,” the Lebanese president said in a televised speech.
Aoun described the deal as an “historic achievement”. He added that Lebanon was “able to recover a disputed area of 860 square kilometres (330 square miles)”.
“Lebanon did not concede a single square kilometre to Israel,” he said, adding that his country had seized full control over the Qana field, despite parts of it falling within Israel’s territorial waters.
“This indirect agreement responds to the Lebanese claims and fully preserves our rights,” he said.
He stressed that “no normalisation with Israel took place”.
Israel and Lebanon are still technically at war. The agreement between the nation was earlier applauded by world leaders including US President Joe Biden.
In an interview with a Lebanese television station, US envoy Amos Hochstein on Thursday hailed the deal as “an agreement that could be credited for preventing chaos and further conflict throughout the region.
“In the first time in a long time, Lebanon is the answer to the problems and not the cause of it,” he continued.
He added that the deal would ensure “economic prosperity for Lebanon, an assurance from conflict, securing Israel’s northern borders”, which he said would translate to “no war between Israel and Lebanon”.
(With inputs from agencies)
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