Israel and Lebanon have reached a US-brokered agreement to settle their long-disputed maritime border, Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid said Tuesday, potentially unlocking significant offshore gas production.
“Israel and Lebanon have reached a historic agreement settling the maritime dispute,” said a statement from Lapid’s office, in which the premier hailed “a historic achievement that will strengthen Israel’s security.”
Lebanon’s presidency had said earlier that a proposed final text submitted by US envoy Amos Hochstein was “satisfactory to Lebanon,” and voiced hope that “the agreement on the demarcation will be announced as soon as possible.”
Talks on resolving the border dispute between the neighboring countries which remain technically at war began in 2020 but have faced repeated roadblocks.
Momentum towards a final deal suffered a setback last week when Israel said it planned to reject Lebanon’s proposed changes to Hochstein’s final draft.
But negotiations continued in recent days, culminating in acceptable terms for a final deal, both sides said.
“In the last few hours, Israel received a draft agreement that meets all of its security, economic and legal demands,” the statement from Lapid’s office said.
The premier will “convene a security cabinet meeting, followed by a special government meeting at which the agreement will come before the government for approval before it is presented to the Knesset (parliament),” it added.