US hands Lebanon draft maritime border agreement with Israel

Published date02 October 2022
Publication titleGlobes (Rishon LeZion, Israel)
Aoun sent the draft to the prime minister of Lebanon Najib Mikati and to the speaker of the Lebanese parliament Nabih Berri, who is close to Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah

Nasrallah has already made what can be considered a positive comment on the draft. In a speech yesterday afternoon, he said that it was a very important step, and that it would be government officials who would make the decision for the benefit of Lebanon. "We are facing decisive days in the matter of Lebanon's rights, and we hope that the result will be good," Nasrallah said.

Nasrallah had previously threatened that unless "Lebanon's rights" were assured, he would not allow Israel to produce gas from the Karish reservoir, preparation for which is underway. The IDF shot down four drones that Hezbollah directed towards Karish, and the organization was warned that if it tried to hit Israel's gas platforms, the response would be extremely severe, including making Nasrallah himself a target.

In the coming days, the flow of gas in the pipelines connecting the Karish production platform to the shore will be tested. A senior diplomatic source told "Globes" that the government was pressing Energean, the company with the rights to the Karish reservoir, to defer the start of gas production, and that the government was delaying related matters for which it was responsible, in order to reach a draft agreement acceptable to the Lebanese government first.

The Ministry of National Infrastructures, Energy and Water Resources denied that this was the case, saying that it was a matter of a complex infrastructure installation that needed to meet regulatory requirements, and that teams from the ministry and international consultants whom the ministry had hired were working unceasingly to carry out the necessary checks in order to allow the production platform to operate.

Diplomatic sources in Lebanon, Israel and the US have expressed optimism about a maritime border agreement between Israel and Lebanon being achieved within the next few weeks. According to one of these sources, the draft agreement presented to the two sides skirts several possible pitfalls, and allows Israel to continue developing its gas fields and Lebanon to start developing its own. He added that the prospects of Lebanon obtaining a significant future source of revenue were tending to neutralize opposition to an agreement with Israel, including on the part of Hezbollah.

Israel's...

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