The US-brokered maritime border agreement between Israel and Lebanon was relayed to government ministers this morning, in advance of the security cabinet meeting scheduled to discuss the agreement. The agreement, which has not been officially published by the Israeli government, is now revealed to the public as well.
Full text of the agreement
Surprisingly, no map is appended to the agreement, which instead gives the coordinates of the new boundary, and anyone not versed in cartography will find it hard to understand the lines referred to. This is in addition to the fact that most ministers did not know, until it was reported in “Globes” yesterday, that the agreement also involves a concession on territorial waters that were in dispute.
The agreement is essentially a document that the US has sent to Israel and Lebanon and that is meant to come into force when it has been signed by both sides and the US has confirmed the signatures. The US is the guarantor of the agreement, and the two sides undertake to notify United Nations that the maritime border between them has been determined on the lines agreed.
The main section of the agreement is the border itself, set on the basis of the Lebanese demand for the line known as line 23, starting five kilometers from the shore and extending to the edge of the Exclusive Economic Zones of the two countries where they meet the Exclusive Economic Zone of Cyprus. Officially, the agreement transfers over 860 square kilometers to Lebanon’s Exclusive Economic Zone.
Israel has obtained its demand for de facto recognition, without full agreement, of the line of buoys stretching from the shore at Rosh Hanikra five kilometers out to sea along Line 1, north of Line 23. This is a security requirement for Israel, necessary for its navy to be able to protect Israel’s shores. As reported by “Globes” yesterday, Lebanon will also receive a few square kilometers of territorial waters that were in dispute between the two countries. It has been agreed that the final, official political border will be determined in future negotiations between the two countries that will also deal with the international border on land.
A far as the Qana/Sidon gas field is concerned, the agreement states that in accordance with Lebanon’s demand French energy company Total will begin exploratory drilling immediately after the agreement is signed, but will not start to produce gas (if it finds any) until a mechanism is agreed for compensating Israel for gas produced from the part of the field that lies within its Exclusive Economic Zone. The amount is estimated at 17%. This is the compromise reached at the weekend after Israel rejected Lebanon’s original demands.
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It is also agreed that any future discovery of natural resources that straddles the border will be referred to the US, which will help in reaching an understanding on how to exploit the discovery.
Published by Globes, Israel business news – en.globes.co.il – on October 12, 2022.
© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd., 2022.
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