Israel-Lebanon, direct contacts for an agreement on maritime borders
“Israel and Lebanon — explained the Israeli Minister of Energy — will keep direct contacts, with the American mediation, for the borders of the commercial waters between the two nations.” The waters in front of the two countries hide several rich gas fields. That is not a truce. Not even an attempt. As the Israeli Minister of Energy Yuval Steinitz well explained, it is a commercial issue. However, it is a step forward, with a high symbolic value for two countries that have fought various conflicts and are still formally in a state of war.
“Israel and Lebanon — explained the Israeli Minister of Energy — will keep direct contacts, with the American mediation, for the borders of the commercial waters between the two nations. Our goal is to put an end to the differences on the issue. To help the development of natural resources for the benefit of the peoples of the region.” Confirmation also came from Lebanon through the mouth of the head of Parliament, the Shiite Nabih Berri.
“The visit of the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Lebanon has brought back to life the dossier of the border demarcation,” Berri clarified. He added that the United States realize that the governments of Lebanon and Israel are ready to delimit their maritime borders based on the experience of the tripartite mechanism -Israel, Lebanon, UN -existing from the agreements of April 1996 and which is currently governed by the United Nations resolution n.1701 of 2006.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, during his visit to Rome, commented that the agreement allows both countries to start discussions, which can produce more stability, security, and prosperity for both Lebanese and Israeli citizens. Pompeo indicated that the deal is the result of nearly three years of intense diplomatic engagement on the part of US officials. The Washington mediation has been going on for years. A big obstacle was the positions of Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite movement, that does not accept any political or diplomatic confrontation with Israel, a state with which it maintains a high level of mobilization.
According to the head of Lebanese parliament, if the demarcation of the sea border between Lebanon and Israel were to be successful, particularly in blocks 8 and 9, there would be plenty of room to pay our debts. The blocks 8 and 9, corresponding to two of the area in the stretch of sea to explore and divided, are considered to be richer in energy deposits.