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August 21, 2022 4:42 am

Israel, Lebanon Close to Deal on Maritime Border: Report

avatar by i24 News

London-based Energean’s drill ship begins drilling at the Karish natural gas field offshore Israel in the east Mediterranean May 9, 2022. REUTERS/Ari Rabinovitch

i24 NewsA Lebanese official source on Saturday told Russian media that his country and Israel are close to sealing a deal on the demarcation of the disputed maritime border.

The agreement is expected to be signed in September, the source told Sputnik.

“We are very close to reaching an agreement on the demarcation of the maritime border with Israel, and we have been informed that the answer the US mediator Amos Hochstein will carry from the Israeli side in response to the Lebanese proposal is positive, and he will soon return to Beirut,” the official was quoted as saying.

Earlier on Friday, Hassan Nasrallah, chief of Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, threatened of “heading toward an escalation” if “the US mediator does not give Lebanon what it asked for in terms of its rights.” In July, Israeli army downed three drones launched by Hezbollah that were headed towards the disputed Karish offshore gas field.

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Talks between Israel and Lebanon, which do not have official diplomatic relations and are officially at war, over the maritime border dispute resumed in 2020, but were stalled over Beirut’s request that the map used for the negotiations be modified.

Earlier in July, the US special envoy mediating the negotiations Amos Hochstein visited Beirut carrying an Israeli proposal in response to a demarcation offer made by Lebanon last June. He then flew to Israel signaling “optimism” over “continuous progress” on reaching the deal.

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