Israel and Lebanon reach a historic agreement that paves the way for exploration for potentially rich gas


Leaders on both sides said on Tuesday that Israel and Lebanon had reached a historic agreement, settling a years-long maritime border dispute over major oil and gas fields in the Mediterranean.

“The final version of the offer is satisfactory to Lebanon, meets its demands and preserves Lebanon’s rights to this natural wealth,” Lebanese President Michel Aoun said in a statement hours after receiving the latest Israeli offer through American mediator Amos Hochstein.

Aoun said he hoped the agreement would be announced “as soon as possible.”

Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid said: “This is a historic achievement that will enhance Israel’s security, inject billions into the Israeli economy, and ensure the stability of our northern borders.”

Lapid said that the draft agreement meets all the security and economic principles set by Israel.

He said the Israeli prime minister will hold a cabinet session on Wednesday, followed by a special cabinet meeting.

The disputed area includes the Karish oil and gas field and the area known as Afaq Qana, which is expected to fall into Israeli and Lebanese waters respectively under the agreement. Israel said it would start extracting oil and gas from Karish and exporting it to Europe soon.

Lebanese Energy Minister Walid Fayyad also said, on Tuesday, that the French energy company Total, which owns the contract to explore Lebanese waters, will start work in the Qana area “immediately”.

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