Lebanon-Israel maritime deal 'a significant development', says Antony Blinken

Security of State says US-mediated agreement bolsters both Lebanon and Israel's security and prosperity

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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has praised an apparent agreement between Lebanon and Israel that would demarcate their maritime boundaries, ending a long-running dispute between two countries who have no diplomatic relations.

The deal paves for the way for both countries, which technically remain in a state of war with each other, to conduct gas exploration in the Mediterranean while easing a potential source of tension.

“This is a significant development,” Mr Blinken said. “It is good for Israel's security, it's good for Israel's prosperity. It's good for Lebanon's security and its prosperity.”

“It's going to benefit the region and ultimately benefit the entire world with very significant new energy sources coming to market in the years ahead.”

While the deal could still face some obstacles, including legal and political challenges in Israel, both Lebanese and Israeli officials have said they are satisfied with the US-mediated deal.

Lebanese leaders made no formal announcement, but have indicated they would approve the agreement.

US energy envoy Amos Hochstein has been engaged in months of shuttle diplomacy to try to resolve the dispute.

US President Joe Biden said on Tuesday that he had called Lebanese President Michel Aoun and Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid, “who confirmed the readiness of both governments to move forward with this agreement”.

Updated: October 12, 2022, 10:24 AM