Israel has reached a ‘historical agreement’ with Lebanon, resolving a years-long maritime border dispute in a gas-rich part of the Mediterranean Sea.
The draft agreement, which has been brokered by the US, addresses all the economic and security principles outlined by Israel.
With the deal, Israel and Lebanon will increase offshore gas production in the Mediterranean Sea.
The deal allows Israel to produce gas from the Karish field in the eastern Mediterranean and increase exports to Europe, according to Bloomberg News.
Europe is seeking more gas supplies following supply cuts by Russia due to Western sanctions on Moscow, following its invasion of Ukraine.
Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid was quoted by Reuters as saying: “This is [a] historic achievement that will strengthen Israel’s security, inject billions into Israel’s economy, and ensure the stability of our northern border.”
In a tweet, Lapid said: “This unprecedented deal will strengthen Israel’s security, bolster our economy and deliver cleaner, more affordable energy to countries around the world.”
A tweet from the Lebanese president’s office said the deal ‘preserves its rights to its natural wealth’.
Israel expects to start extracting natural gas from the Karish offshore field free from attack threats from Iranian-sponsored Lebanese militant group Hezbollah.
The deal also ensures that Lebanon, through a TotalEnergies-led consortium, can explore the Kana field and pay royalties to undertake drilling work in parts of Israel’s territory.
Commenting on the agreement, US President Biden said the deal would preserve and further enhance Israel’s security and economic interests while creating new opportunities for Israel’s national prosperity.
Lebanon President Michel Aoun said in a statement: “The Presidency of the Republic considers the final version of this offer satisfactory to Lebanon, especially as it meets the Lebanese demands that have been the focus of a long debate during the past months and required effort and long hours of difficult and complex negotiations.”