Israel and Lebanon reach a “historic” maritime border accord

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By Creative Media News

Israel and Lebanon reached a maritime border accord Thursday, brokered by the United States, that opens up valuable offshore gas fields for the officially at-war neighbors.

US Vice President Joe Biden lauded the “historic” agreement, which comes as Western powers clamor to open up new energy sources and reduce reliance on Russian supplies.

The deal was signed separately by Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun in Beirut and Israel’s Prime Minister Yair Lapid in Jerusalem. Once the papers were delivered to mediators, the accord went into force.

Israel and lebanon reach a "historic" maritime border accord
Israel and lebanon reach a "historic" maritime border accord

Biden said in a statement, “Both parties took the final measures to implement the agreement and submitted the necessary papers to the United Nations in the presence of the United States.”

Israel’s sworn enemy, the Lebanese Hezbollah group, announced that it would stop its “exceptional” mobilization against the country, after threatening for months to attack Israel if it reached for offshore gas reserves at the border before the deal was completed. In a televised address, Hassan Nasrallah, the head of Hezbollah, declared, “Our objective is accomplished.”

Border deal
Israel and lebanon reach a "historic" maritime border accord

The arrangement comes as Lebanon strives to emerge from what the World Bank describes as one of the world’s worst economic crises in modern history, and as Lapid seeks to secure a huge victory days before the November 1 general election.

In the southern Lebanese border town of Naqura, the letters were exchanged in the presence of US mediator Amos Hochstein and UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon Joanna Wron­ecka, who will now submit the revised sea coordinates to the UN headquarters in New York.

Israel and lebanon reach a "historic" maritime border accord
Israel and lebanon reach a "historic" maritime border accord

Biden stated that “energy should not be a source of conflict, particularly in the Eastern Mediterranean, but rather a vehicle for cooperation, stability, security, and prosperity.”

This deal brings us one step closer to realizing a vision for a more safe, affluent, and integrated Middle East, which will benefit the entire region.”

Lapid asserted that Lebanon’s determination to accept the agreement constituted de facto recognition of the Jewish state hours before it was signed. “It is not often that an enemy state formally recognizes the State of Israel in front of the entire world community,” he remarked.

Aoun refused Lapid’s claim, rebutting, “the demarcation of the southern maritime border is a technical task with no political ramifications.”

The agreement comes as Israeli political groups, including Lapid’s moderate Yesh Atid, jostle for position ahead of the country’s fifth general election in less than four years.

Longtime premier and veteran right-winger Benjamin Netanyahu is aiming for a comeback, and he rejected the maritime accord as an “illegal ploy” earlier this month.

London-listed Energean announced on Wednesday that it had begun producing gas from Karish, an offshore field essential to the border accord, a day after Israel gave its approval.

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