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In subdued comments, Nasrallah called the maritime boundary agreement proposal an ‘important step’

In subdued comments, Nasrallah called the maritime boundary agreement proposal an 'important step'
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In a change of tone on Saturday, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah hailed a US-mediated draft proposal to resolve a maritime border dispute between Israel and Lebanon as a “very important step”.

In a televised speech, Nasrallah, who has repeatedly threatened to attack Israel if it begins drilling in the disputed Karish gas field, appeared more conciliatory, saying the emerging deal “opens up new and promising horizons for the people of Lebanon. From the crisis the country has fallen into .

He said the coming days were “crucial” and he hoped the talks would be fruitful.

“Only Lebanon will decide to determine its maritime borders and will do so according to what it deems good for the Lebanese state,” he said.

In addition, the leader of the Hezbollah terrorist group insisted that progress towards resolving the conflict was a result of Lebanon’s “strength”, as opposed to the “benevolence” of the United States and Israel.

Earlier on Saturday, Lebanese President Michael Aoun met with US Ambassador to Lebanon Dorothy Shea. Received written offer From Amos Hochstein, the US mediator on the maritime boundary with Israel. The dispute concerns about 860 square kilometers (330 sq mi) of the Mediterranean Sea that contains lucrative offshore gas fields.

Several Hebrew media reported that Israel had also received an offer from the United States. According to reports, the cabinet will meet next week to approve the deal.

Nasrallah said last week that his Iran-backed terror group’s missiles were “locked” on Karish, and in July, the group launched four unarmed drones toward the gas fields.

According to Channel 12, the location of the proposed border under the emerging agreement will be a compromise between the two sides. The report said Lebanon would be able to drill for gas five kilometers north of Israel’s Karish gas rig.

A security official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the network that Israel’s security interests were upheld by the draft resolution.

Energy’s floating production system (FPSO) in the Karish gas field in the Mediterranean Sea. (Energean)

US-brokered talks over rights to the region, the subject of long-running indirect talks between Jerusalem and Beirut and repeated threats by Hezbollah, appeared to have made progress in recent weeks.

Cannes News broadcast a poll on Saturday, in which 46% of respondents supported the decision of the current interim government agreement, with only 16% against. The rest said they were unsure or did not have enough knowledge on the subject.

Lebanese President Michel Aoun (L) receives a proposal from US Ambassador to Lebanon Dorothy Shea to resolve a maritime border dispute with Israel, October 1, 2022 (Lebanese Presidency)

Earlier this month, Lapid’s office promised that Israel would go ahead and extract gas from Karish with or without an agreement on the maritime border with Lebanon. Aoun said the comments came hours after indirect talks with Israel were in their “final stage” to end the maritime border dispute.

A spokesman for Lapid issued a statement later that day, saying: “Israel believes that it is both possible and necessary to reach an agreement on a maritime line between Lebanon and Israel, in a way that will serve the interests of the citizens of both countries.”

For more than two years, Lebanon has faced a crippling economic, political and energy crisis that has left citizens without basic necessities and created a vacuum for the Hezbollah terrorist group to further take over the nation. Lebanon sees the economic benefits of gas exploration as potentially important in helping it emerge from the crisis.

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