Israel says maritime deal with Lebanon 'possible and necessary'

i24NEWS

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Lebanese President Michel Aoun (R) meeting with US envoy mediating the Lebanon-Israel maritime border talks Amos Hochstein at the Presidential Palace in Baabda, Lebanon, on June 14, 2022.
DALATI AND NOHRA / AFPLebanese President Michel Aoun (R) meeting with US envoy mediating the Lebanon-Israel maritime border talks Amos Hochstein at the Presidential Palace in Baabda, Lebanon, on June 14, 2022.

Michel Aoun says future agreement guarantees Lebanon's rights to explore gas and oil in the specified fields

Israel believes that it is "possible and necessary" to reach an agreement on the maritime border dispute with Lebanon "in a way that will serve the interests of the citizens of both countries," the Israeli Prime Minister's Spokesperson said Monday.

Amid reports of the negotiations being in their "final stages," Israel thanked the US mediator Amos Hochstein "for his hard work in trying to reach an agreement. The agreement will contribute a lot and benefit regional stability," said Keren Hajioff, spokeswoman to Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid.

The spokesperson noted that the production of gas from the Karish rig was not related to the negotiations and that the rig would start producing gas "without delays as soon as it is possible."

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The day prior, Lebanese President Michel Aoun informed the UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon, Joanna Wronecka, that the negotiations for the demarcation of the maritime borders with Israel are "in their final stages."

He noted that the discussed agreement guarantees Lebanon's rights to explore gas and oil in the specified fields in its exclusive economic zone. Together with Hochstein, the Lebanese leadership continues to work “on some technical details related to the demarcation process.” 

Aoun expressed hope that "exploring in Lebanese waters will contribute to reviving the Lebanese economy, which has witnessed a significant decline during the past years, as well as enhancing security and stability in the south” of its borders. 

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While the president reiterated Lebanon’s commitment to international resolutions, he pointed to “the importance of implementing all its components,” considering that “coordination between the international forces operating in the south, UNIFIL, and the Lebanese army is necessary to ensure the success of the mission of maintaining security and peace on the borders.” 

Earlier in September, Hochstein said after meeting with the Lebanese president that the negotiations on the demarcation line between the two countries that are technically still at war are making "very good progress." 

The border between Lebanon and Israel is patrolled by the United Nations. 

The countries resumed maritime border negotiations in 2020, but the process was stalled by Beirut's claim that the map used by the UN in the talks needed modifying.

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