After the Lebanese President Michel Aoun signed on Thursday the official US letter on maritime deal, Lebanon’s negotiation delegation submitted the letter to the United Nations at UNIFIL headquarters in Naqoura.
The Lebanese delegation then returned to Baabda Palace in order to convey to President Aoun an official document that certifies Lebanon submitted the official letter pertaining the demarcation of the maritime borders to the United Nations.
US Energy Envoy Amos Hochstein, who arrived in Beirut late Wednesday, handed over the official letter on the deal to President Aoun, who signed on the deal.
The meeting in Baabda Palace was attended by Deputy House Speaker Elias Bou Saab, who led the indirect negotiation, and caretaker Foreign Minister Abdallah Bou Habib.
After the meeting with President Aoun, Hochstein described Thursday as a “historic day”, saying the deal would “provide stability on both sides of the border.”
Talking to reporters, Hochstein affirmed that “there are no clauses in the demarcation deal that would delay Lebanon’s exploration for energy.”
Hochstein Meets Mikati, Berri
Hochstein then reached the Grand Serail, where he met with caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati, who thanked Hochstein for his efforts in brokering the deal, hoping that Lebanon would soon benefit from its offshore gas and oil resources.
After that, the US mediator headed to Ain El-Tineh to meet Speaker Nabih Berri.
Afternoon, Hochstein will attend the ceremony which will be held in Naqoura.
Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar reported that during the ceremony, delegations representing Lebanon and the Zionist entity will sign the deal in separate rooms.
Sources told Al-Manar that the Lebanese delegation to Naqoura includes: Lebanese Presidency Director-General Antoine Choucair, Lebanese Government Coordinator with UNIFIL Brigadier General Mounir Chehade, Member of Lebanese Petroleum Administration Wissam Chbat and the Legal Adviser at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ahmad Arafa.
“Lebanon is not expected to sign the agreement until after the Israel side does so,” Al-Akhbar said, adding that once the deal is inked, Beirut and Tel Aviv will send letters to the United Nations laying out the terms of the deal.
‘Israel’ Approves Maritime Deal
On the other hand, the Israeli cabinet approved the US-brokered maritime deal, as Prime Minister Yair Lapid signed it.
“It is not every day that an enemy state recognizes the State of Israel, in a written agreement, in view of the entire international community,” Lapid said at the start of the special cabinet meeting to vote on the deal.
“This agreement strengthens and fortifies Israel’s security and our freedom of action against Hezbollah and the threats from the north. There is a rare consensus from the whole defense establishment on the importance of the agreement,” Lapid said, adding that the deal was also an economic achievement.
Lapid signed the deal shortly after the cabinet vote.