Israel and Lebanon have reached a historic agreement, the leaders of both sides said separately on Tuesday, resolving a years-long maritime border dispute involving large oil and gas fields in the Mediterranean Sea.
“The final version of the offer is satisfactory to Lebanon and meets its demands and protects Lebanon’s rights to this natural wealth,” Lebanese President Michel Aoun said in a statement hours after receiving Israel’s final offer through US mediator Amos Hochstein.
Aoun said he hoped the deal would be announced “as soon as possible”.
Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid said: “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.”
Lapid said the draft agreement meets all the security and economic principles set out by Israel.
The Israeli prime minister will convene the defense cabinet on Wednesday, which will be followed by a special government meeting, he said.
The disputed area includes the Karish oil and gas field and an area known as the Qanaa prospect, which are expected to fall in Israeli and Lebanese waters respectively under the agreement. Israel has said it will immediately begin exporting oil and gas from Karish to Europe.
On Tuesday, Lebanese Energy Minister Walid Fayed said French energy company Total, which holds the contract to explore Lebanese waters, would “immediately” begin work on the Gana prospect.