Israel-Lebanon Maritime Dispute |

Lebanon Expects Maritime Border Deal Offer From U.S. Within Days

Lebanese presidency says it expects the written offer from U.S. mediator Amos Hochstein by the end of the week, after meeting in New York

Reuters
Reuters
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A tugboat pulling an Energean Floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) ship along Egypt's Suez Canal, en route to the Karish gas field.
A tugboat pulling an Energean Floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) ship along Egypt's Suez Canal, en route to the Karish gas field.Credit: AFP
Reuters
Reuters

Lebanon expects a written offer from U.S. mediator Amos Hochstein concerning the demarcation of a maritime border with Israel by the end of the week, Lebanon's presidency tweeted on Monday.

Lebanon's deputy speaker of parliament Elias Bou Saab met with Hochstein last week during a visit to New York and briefed President Michel Aoun on the outcome, the presidency added.

Hochstein has been shuttling between Lebanon and Israel in a bid to forge a compromise over the maritime boundary that would allow both to explore for offshore energy reserves.

There have been intermittent, U.S.-mediated negotiations between the countries over the contested zone, in which Israel's Karish gas field is located, since 2000.

Last week, Prime Minister Yair Lapid said Israel would begin drilling at the gas field as soon as possible, regardless of the deal — in direct opposition to Hezbollah threats.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah threatened on numerous occasions this summer to target Israeli drilling operations, on the grounds that Israel was infringing on Lebanon’s maritime rights.

In his most recent speech Nasrallah reiterated that Hezbollah’s red line is the start of production from Karish in the absence of a border agreement, but noted that the organization has shown restraint for several weeks to give the negotiations a chance to yield results.

In July the IDF downed four Hezbollah drones in the area of the offshore field, on two separate occasions. They are thought to have carried cameras, not explosives, but their launch was interpreted as a threat against Israel.

Jonathan Lis contributed to this report.

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