United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has welcomed the US-brokered maritime border deal between Israel and Lebanon to demarcate their common maritime border.
The secretary’s spokesman, Stéphane Dujarric, indicated that Guterres “firmly believes that this encouraging development can promote greater stability in the region and greater prosperity for the peoples.”
The United Nations has “welcomed the announcements that the governments” have “formally agreed to resolve their maritime boundary dispute,” the UN statement said.
The President of Lebanon, Michel Aoun, confirmed Thursday in a speech to the nation that Beirut had approved the agreement reached Tuesday with the Israeli authorities to demarcate the maritime border.
“I announce the approval by Lebanon of the final version prepared by the American mediator to delineate the southern maritime border,” the Lebanese president said in a televised speech.
Aoun described the deal as a “historic achievement,” adding that Lebanon was “able to recover a disputed area of 860 square kilometers (330 square miles).”
“Lebanon did not concede a single square kilometer to Israel,” he said, adding that his country had seized full control over the Qana field, despite parts of it falling within Israel’s territorial waters.
“This indirect agreement responds to the Lebanese claims and fully preserves our rights,” he said.
He stressed that “no normalization with Israel took place.”
The agreement between the countries, that have remained technically at war since Israel’s creation in 1948, was earlier applauded by world leaders, including US President Joe Biden.
On Wednesday, the Israeli government also approved the provisions of the agreement with an “overwhelming majority,” as announced in a communiqué, in which it assured that it would go before Parliament to give it a definitive ‘yes.’
Israel and Lebanon began a process of indirect talks in October 2020 that are mediated by the United States and held under United Nations auspices at the international body’s headquarters in the Lebanese city of Naqura.
The negotiations revolve around an area of 860 square kilometers which, according to both countries, lie within their respective Exclusive Economic Zones, a matter of particular importance following the discovery of gas reserves in this area which both Israel and Lebanon hope to exploit.
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