Israel says close to ‘historic’ maritime deal with Lebanon – Times of India


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JERUSALEM: Israel said Tuesday that it was close to a “historic” deal with Lebanon to resolve a long-running border dispute over gas-rich Mediterranean waters, after a US-drafted proposal met Israeli “demands”.
Israel had welcomed an initial draft floated by US envoy Amos Hochstein that aims to unlock gas production for both countries by settling competing claims over offshore fields.
But Israel said last week that it intended to reject changes to Hochstein’s draft sought by Lebanon.
Negotiations continued over recent days and Israel said Hochstein’s latest proposal had brought a deal within reach.
“All our demands were met, the changes that we asked for were corrected,” Israel’s national security adviser and lead negotiator at the talks, Eyal Hulata, said in a statement.
“We protected Israel’s security interests and are on our way to a historic agreement,” he added.
Lebanon and Israel have no diplomatic relations and their land border is patrolled by the United Nations. The two sides are technically still at war.
The countries reopened negotiations on their maritime border in 2020, but the process has faced repeated roadblocks.
Israel has said it committed to exporting more gas to Europe to help replace Russian deliveries hit by the war in Ukraine.

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