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October 11, 2022 9:09 am

Israel, Lebanon Reach ‘Historic’ Maritime Border Deal

avatar by i24 News and Algemeiner Staff

Israel’s Prime Minister Yair Lapid virtually addresses EU-Israel Association Council which reconvened on Monday for the first time in a decade. Photo: Kobi Gideon (GPO)

i24 News – Prime Minister Yair Lapid said on Tuesday that Israel reached a historic agreement with Lebanon on the maritime border deal.

Lapid will hold a security council meeting to discuss the deal on Wednesday followed by a special meeting of the Israeli government.

“This is a historic achievement that will strengthen Israel’s security, bring billions into Israel’s economy and ensure stability on the northern border,” the prime minister said, according to an official statement.

“The draft agreement fully complies with the principles presented by Israel, both in the field of security and economy,” the statement added.

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Lebanese militant group Hezbollah that has repeatedly threatened Israel over the maritime border dispute, reportedly does not oppose the current deal.

Lebanese President Michel Aoun confirmed on Twitter earlier on Tuesday that his country is satisfied with the final draft of the agreement.

“The final version of the offer satisfies Lebanon, meets its demands and preserves its rights to its natural wealth,” the official tweet said.

The president added that he will “hold the necessary consultations on this national issue in preparation for the official announcement of the unified national position.”

Lebanon’s lead negotiator also said earlier on Tuesday that his country secured its “full rights” in the latest text drafted by US mediators.

“Lebanon has obtained its full rights, and all of its remarks have been taken into account,” said lead negotiator Elias Bou Saab, the deputy speaker of parliament, after handing the draft to President Michel Aoun.

“Today we have come to a solution that satisfies both parties.”

Israel had said earlier Tuesday that it was close to a “historic” deal with Lebanon and the US draft met its “demands.”

Earlier on Monday evening, Lebanese lead negotiator Elias Bou Saab confirmed that his country accepted all of Israel’s demands in the final draft of the maritime deal.

The agreement in question would resolve a territorial dispute over the area of the Mediterranean sea where the two countries aim to explore natural gas. The deal has been negotiated by the US mediator Amos Hochstein and is expected to be sealed in the upcoming days.

“If everything goes well, Amos Hochstein’s efforts could imminently lead to a historic deal,” Bou Saab said on Monday night.

“We received minutes ago the final draft… Lebanon felt that it takes into consideration all of Lebanon’s requirements and we believe that the other side should feel the same,” he added.

Last week Israel rejected Lebanon’s last-minute changes, risking the deal that would open doors to international aid for cash-strapped Lebanon. However, officials from both countries said they have resolved their differences in recent days.

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