U.S. energy envoy Amos Hochstein said on Sunday that Israel and Lebanon would likely sign their maritime border agreement later this week.
“We’re going to have a deal. We’re going to sign it hopefully this Thursday,” Hochstein said in an interview on CNN‘s “Face The Nation.”
According to Israeli media reports, the ceremony will take place in the Lebanese town of Naqoura, close to the shared border, with delegations from Jerusalem and Beirut finalizing the agreement in separate rooms.
Israel and Lebanon have no diplomatic relations and remain technically at war.
The Israeli and Lebanese governments earlier this month gave preliminary approval to the U.S.-mediated maritime border deal to end a long standing dispute over gas-rich waters in the Eastern Mediterranean.
The accord will draw a border between the two countries’ exclusive economic zones (EEZs) based on a boundary known as Line 23, and award a disputed area of around 840 square kilometers (324 square miles) to Lebanon, while recognizing Israel’s claim to the Karish gas field and to royalties from the section of the Qana field that extends into the Jewish state’s EEZ.
Israel recently set up a rig at Karish, where gas was set to begin flowing in September but was delayed in order to give the talks more time, and amid repeated threats of war by Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah.
The Israeli Cabinet is scheduled to meet at 10:30 a.m. local time on Thursday at the Prime Minister’s Office to vote on the agreement, which is expected to be approved by a wide margin.
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