Elias Bou Saab, Lebanon’s chief negotiator, told reporters Thursday that President Michel Aoun had signed a letter in which approved a “historic” agreement brokered by the United States to delimit the maritime borders of his country with Israel. Speaking from the presidential palace, Bou Saab added that the signature represented a “new era” and that the letter would be delivered to US officials later Thursday at a border point in the far south of Lebanon in Naqoura.
On the other hand, Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid considered in a cabinet meeting during which the government approved the deal, which Lebanon “recognized” the State of Israel by accepting the deal. He said: “This is a political achievement. Not every day an enemy state recognizes the state of Israel in a written agreement in front of the entire international community “. The agreement, which will allow the Jewish state to start producing gas from the region, will enter in force, according to the text seen by the Agence France-Presse, when the United States sends “a notification containing the confirmation of each party’s agreement to the provisions stipulated in the agreement.”
On the eve of the signing, Energean announced on Wednesday the start of gas production from the Karish offshore field, which was located in aarea disputed and became fully part of the Tel Aviv share in according to the agreement. While Lebanon, mired in economic collapse, hopes to start drilling as soon as possible. Months ago, developments relating to the maritime border demarcation file accelerated after a months-long pause due to disagreements over thearea of that region. After meetings and shuttle contacts, the American mediator, Amos Hochstein, whose country has been leading mediation for two years, presented his latest offer earlier this month, and the two sides announced their approval.
On Thursday, Hochstein met with Lebanese President Michel Aoun, Prime Minister Najib Mikati and Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri, to head to the United Nations Forces Headquarters in the city of Naqoura, southern Lebanon in the afternoon, where the agreement, after which it will move in Israel. After his meeting with Aoun, Hochstein expressed his happiness for having reached “this historic day in the region … and with an agreement that creates hope, economic opportunity and stability for both sides of the border”. He added: “The important thing now that we have achieved this is what will happen next, and I hope this is an economic turning point for Lebanon, for a new phase of investment and support to move the economy forward.”
As the two countries are in war, each party should deliver in separate rooms a letter containing your consent to the American mediator. In this regard, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said that the agreement “will take the form of an exchange of two messages, one between Lebanon and the United States and the other between Israel and the United States”.
The UN Special Coordinator will be present at the signing in Lebanon, Yoana Frontec, where you will be given the geographical coordinates relating to the demarcation of the sea line that the two parties have agreed to send to the United Nations. These coordinates will replace those that the two countries sent to the United Nations in 2011.
For his part, a spokesperson for the Lebanese presidency made it clear that the mission of the Lebanese delegation will be limited to “delivering the message only in the presence of Hochstein and the UN representative, and will not meet the Israeli delegation at all.” Before the end of the mandate. of President Aoun, at the end of this month, Lebanon plunged in crisis and serious political divisions, has not yet decided who will sign the agreement.
In turn, US President Joe Biden said Wednesday after his meeting with his Israeli counterpart Yitzhak Herzog that the deal “will create new hope and economic opportunity.” He described it as “historic”. Reaching an agreement was not easy, in negotiations started in 2020 stumbled several times, before accelerating from the beginning of June following the arrival of a production and storage vessel near the Karish field, which Lebanon considered to be located in a disputed area.
Under the new agreement, the Karish camp will be completely on the Israeli side, while the agreement guarantees Lebanon the Qana camp, which goes beyond the dividing line that separates the two sides. Block no. 9, where the Qana field is located, will be an important one area exploration by the French companies “Total” and the Italian company “Eni”, which have obtained contracts for the exploration of oil and gas. Energean said he hopes to be in able in the short term to produce 6.5 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year, with the amount that in thereafter it will rise to eight billion cubic meters per year. He added: “We are delighted to announce the safe production of the prime amount of gas from the Karish field off the coast of Israel. The gas flow is in steady increase. “On the Lebanese side, the authorities announced that it had been agreed with the French company Total to start exploration phases immediately after the final agreement. But despite the agreement, experts believe that Lebanon is still a long way off.