Israel says close to ‘historic’ maritime deal with Lebanon

JERUSALEM: Israeli said on Tuesday that it was close to reaching a “historic” agreement with Lebanon to settle a long-running border dispute over gas richness Mediterranean Seaafter a US-drafted proposal met Israel’s “request”.
Israel has welcomed an initial draft released by US special envoy Amos Hochstein that aims to unlock gas production for both countries by addressing competing claims to offshore fields.
However, last week Israel said it intended to reject the changes to Hochstein’s draft sought by Lebanon.
Negotiations have continued in recent days, and Israel says Hochstein’s latest proposal has brought a deal within reach.
“All of our requests have been met, the changes we requested have been corrected,” said Israel’s national security adviser and lead negotiator at the talks, Eyal Hulatasaid in a statement.
“We protect Israel’s security interests and are on our way to reaching a historic agreement,” he added.
Lebanon and Israel have no diplomatic relations and their land borders are patrolled by the United Nations. Technically, the two sides are still at war.
The countries have reopened their maritime border negotiations in 2020, but the process has faced many obstacles.
Israel says it is committed to exporting more gas to Europe to help replace Russian shipments affected by the war in Ukraine.


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