Israel, US announce Lebanon sea deal, but questions remain

Lebanon and Israel both claim around 860 square kilometers of the Mediterranean Sea that are home to offshore gas fields.
Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Makati and his deputy Elias Bou Saab
Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Makati and his deputy Elias Bou Saab AP

JERUSALEM: Israel's Security Cabinet on Wednesday voted in favour of the U.S.-brokered maritime border deal with Lebanon, the first of several procedural hurdles before the agreement is formally adopted.

The snap vote by Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid's senior ministers came a day after he announced that Israel agreed to the terms of the landmark deal between the two countries that have formally been in a state of war since 1948.

Lebanon and Israel both claim around 860 square kilometers of the Mediterranean Sea that are home to offshore gas fields.

At stake are rights over exploiting those undersea resources.

Under the agreement, the disputed waters would be divided along a line straddling the strategic Qana natural gas field.

The Prime Minister's Office said the Security Cabinet voted unanimously in favour of ratifying the agreement, with one minister abstaining, setting up a vote by the full Cabinet.

Lebanon hopes gas exploration will help lift its country out of its spiralling economic crisis.

Israel also hopes to exploit gas reserves while also easing tensions with its northern neighbour.

But the deal still faces numerous hurdles, including legal and political challenges in Israel.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed a petition to freeze the deal because of its approval just weeks before Israel goes to its fifth elections in just under four years on Nov 1.

Visit news.dtnext.in to explore our interactive epaper!

Download the DT Next app for more exciting features!

Click here for iOS

Click here for Android

Related Stories

No stories found.
DT next
www.dtnext.in