Middle EastAgreement between Lebanon and Israel on maritime boundary
Under US mediation, the two countries finally agreed and paved the way for hydrocarbon prospecting.
Lebanese President Michel Aoun announced on Thursday that his country had ratified a maritime demarcation agreement with Israel, after intense negotiations led by Washington, which paved the way for the hydrocarbon prospect. “I announce Lebanon’s approval of the final version prepared by the US mediator to delimit the South Sea border,” Aoun said in a televised speech. Lebanon’s official response comes two days after Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid called the deal “historic”.
Distribution of rights
After several shuttles between the two sides, US mediator Amos Hochstein gave them the latest version of the text overnight from Monday to Tuesday. According to the agreement, the offshore Garish field is entirely within Israeli territorial waters. Lebanon, for its part, will have full exploration and exploitation rights to the Ghana field, located further north-east, part of which lies in Israeli territorial waters. But the text says Israel will be “remunerated” by the company that runs Ghana “for its rights to any deposits”. Washington, which has been officially mediating a state of war between the two neighbors for two years, hailed it as a “historic turning point”.
The Lebanese president insisted the deal was a “historic victory” for his country. “We were able to recover 860 square kilometers of territory, which was under dispute, and Lebanon did not cede any kilometers to Israel,” he argued. He added that Lebanon has “taken the entire land of Ghana without any compensation from our side, and the entire field land is not in our territorial waters.”
In search of hydrocarbons
“This indirect agreement responds to Lebanon’s demands and fully protects our rights,” said Mr. Aoun said its mandate ends on October 31. Lebanese authorities are betting on the presence of hydrocarbons to help them overcome the country’s three-year economic collapse, described by the World Bank as the worst in the modern world.
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