The US letter of guarantee to Israel accompanying the maritime border agreement with Lebanon is due to be signed by US President Joe Biden this week, according to a senior diplomatic source. The wording was agreed on Friday, but it will remain confidential and will not be published in full.
The letter was supposed to have been attached to the agreement before the government approved it, but it was not completed on time, and the ministers voted on the agreement without the guarantee letter and without the initial framework agreement with Total, which is responsible for drilling in the Qana/Sidon gas prospect.
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The diplomatic source says that the letter is addressed to Prime Minister Yair Lapid, and expresses clear backing of the US for Israel’s positions on matters linked to the maritime border agreement. The source added that the US president declares in the letter of guarantee that the US is committed to the full implementation of that agreement and to Israel’s security and economic rights as expressed in it. In addition, the letter repeats the commitment of the US to assisting Israel to defend itself (with its own forces) and to deter its enemies, including at sea and against any threat to its energy assets at sea or to Israeli vessels. In the case of any attempt to breach the agreement, the US will stand by Israel to prevent the breach.
In the letter, the US recognizes the line of buoys as the status quo territorial border line, and states that it will oppose any attempt to challenge that line, unless by agreement between the two sides.
On the Qana/Sidon gas prospect, the US states its commitment to Israel’s economic rights in the prospect, and stresses its commitment to preventing Hezbollah from profiting from the prospect, in accordance with the US sanctions regime.
Published by Globes, Israel business news – en.globes.co.il – on October 30, 2022.
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