The dispute between Israel and Lebanon over the border of their economic waters is moving to a decisive point. Lebanese President Michel Aoun met with US mediator Amos Hochstein, a special envoy of US President Joe Biden, and presented his country’s position, which includes a compromise. The proposal has been handed over to Israel, sources close to the issue told Globe.
According to a report, Aun did not submit any written proposal to Hochman, but rather told him the details of a personal meeting out of concern that the compromise would expire on Hezbollah. Aun understands that the Shiite extremist group sees the gas problem as an important story that could divert attention from criticism, while presenting itself as a defender of the country against “Israeli attempts to seize Lebanese gas.”
A high-ranking Hezbollah figure is threatening to fire missiles at Israel
Hezbollah has recently raised the alert of its naval forces and their spokesmen have made more extreme statements. Hezbollah’s senior official, Nabil Kauk, said: “Resistance missiles could damage Israel’s strategic facilities.” He even went further and blamed the United States for the current situation in Lebanon. The position of the Americans is the biggest obstacle on the way to saving Lebanon and stopping its disintegration. “
Contrary to Hezbollah’s position, Globes has been informed by sources in the United States and others involved in mediation attempts that the Lebanese president’s proposal includes a major gas field in Lebanon’s economic waters across the triangular sea area in the dispute. , and in the waters of Israel.
Aoun’s goal is to ensure that Lebanon receives most of the profits from gas production at the field, “sources said. The original Lebanese name for the field is Sidon, but it was changed to Qana in disobedience to Israel. Sources say Lebanon will be ready to reach an agreement on the basis of line 23, originally presented to the UN, and withdraw from line 29, which it insisted on in the December 2020 talks.
The Globes have already revealed that Hochstein has returned to Beirut to continue mediation, subject to Lebanon’s acceptance of the original line 23 proposed in talks with Israel. Aun has made it clear that Lebanon will not make any claims to the Karish field if Israel accepts Lebanon’s demands for Sidon-Khan. One option that has been raised is the management of drilling and extraction from the field by an international body, once principles have been set for the division between Israel and Lebanon and the demarcation of the border.
Aun’s proposal has been handed over to Israel and is currently being discussed by various authorities. According to reports, Hochstein expects to be able to return to Lebanon in early July with Israel’s response.
Dispute with Israel prevents companies from exploring gas in Lebanon
The former Minister of National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Resources told the Globe that it was not possible to rely on Lebanon’s proposals because no senior figure had kept his word in the past and withdrew from the compromise agreements reached. in 2012
Steinitz added that Israel’s line 1 line on marking the border of economic waters was determined under an agreement with Lebanon and Cyprus less than 20 years ago and was accepted by Israel. It was only later, when Israel began developing gas fields, that the Lebanese decided on line 23, claiming that the previous line was a mistake. But Steinitz said Israel could afford to be flexible because for Beirut, “not developing gas fields would be a tragedy”, and the dispute with Israel has halted all drilling in Lebanese economic waters.
At the moment, the people around Aun keep their opportunities open and generate a deliberate leak of information about Lebanon’s firm negotiating position. One such leak claims that Aun insists that the Sidon-Kana field be exclusively in Lebanon, in exchange for agreeing that Israel can produce gas from the Karish field. Another Lebanese demand is that Israel not start extracting gas from the Karish field in September, while Lebanon has not started drilling the Sidon-Kana field. One major problem is that it is not yet clear whether the Sidon-Kana field is large enough to justify production.
Israeli gas could reach Lebanon via Egypt
Meanwhile, Lebanon and Egypt are expected to sign an agreement this week to supply gas via a pipeline through Jordan and Syria that will power a power plant in Lebanon to help with the severe energy crisis the country is trying to deal with. Most parts of Lebanon have only two hours of electricity a day, with hospitals and hotels using generators. The deal is interesting because Egypt is buying gas from Israel, so it is possible that the same gas will find its way to Lebanon.
Posted by Globes, Israel Business News – en.globes.co.il – on June 20, 2022.
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